Welcome to Get Set Learn! Thank you for your interest in our programs. Get Set Learn programs are developed and provided by Project READ Literacy Network Waterloo-Wellington, in partnership with our community partners and community and government funders. Get Set Learn programs have been successfully helping families learn together since 2003. These programs guide parents and grandparents in actively helping themselves and their children to learn and to expand their literacy skills and essential skills.

Learning begins at birth. Parents and Grandparents are a child’s first and most important teachers.

By donating to our Get Set Learn programs, you are helping families to make a better future for themselves and their children. Family Literacy programs such as Get Set Learn improve education and employment outcomes for families across generations.

Our world increasingly demands new and higher skills for success in school, work, and life. Families need supports for guiding their children to learn and grow in ways that fit the world around them.

Increasing the skills of parents and families has an undeniable impact on the lives of children in our community. To continue this work our programs rely on help from our community partners, community funders, and our municipal, provincial, and federal governments. We need and welcome donations from all sources to maintain and expand our programs, so that we can continue to help families learn and grow to reach their potential.

What is Family Literacy?

Get Set Learn programs are Family Literacy programs.

Literacy is more than learning to read and write. Literacy includes being able to use reading, writing, speaking, and numerical skills to effectively to understand and participate in school, life, and work. Low literacy affects many aspects of life including health, income, employment, parenting, education or training, and daily living.

Learning begins at birth. You are your child’s first and most important teacher.

Our programs build on the already-present strengths within families by working with parents and grandparents to support the growth of their child’s literacy skills and their own literacy skills.

Get Set Learn recognizes that parents and grandparents are a child’s first teachers. Family Literacy works with the many ways families use literacy and language to do everyday tasks. Research stresses that improving the literacy skills of the parent will result in higher literacy skills in the child. Children develop vital thinking skills, attitudes, and knowledge between birth and the time they start school that lay the foundation for their school success and future lifelong learning. By working with both the parents and children in our program we provide opportunities for parents to learn strategies to enhance their children’s learning and guided practice with their children to experience these strategies.

Some of our participants in Get Set Learn live below the poverty line. Family literacy programs like Get Set Learn can help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty in families. When literacy skills improve, outcomes for entire families improve, including employment, health, and success in school.

Research shows that parents’ education, and employment levels directly affect literacy development in their children. In our Get Set Learn programs, parents receive information and guidance to assist them in taking the next step on their own path to increased literacy, education, or employment.

About Get Set Learn

Get Set Learn is a series of programs offered by Project READ Literacy Network in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

Our programs are for families: parents, grandparents, and children.

Learning begins at birth. You are your child’s first and most important teacher.

Get Set Learn programs for families give parents and grandparents ideas for learning together at home while having fun as a family.

Our programs for families with pre-school children and babies help families get ready for school.

Our programs for families with school-age children offer parents and grandparents ideas for helping children succeed in school.

All of our family programs include

  • songs
  • play
  • books
  • parent sharing and support

In the first hour of our family programs, families play and learn together. In our second hour parents meet separately while children play in a supervised play room. In this parent-only time, and in our adult-only workshops, parents and grandparents learn together, share ideas, and meet new friends.

History of Get Set Learn

Project READ Literacy Network Waterloo-Wellington (PRLN) developed Get Set Learn in 2003 to give parents with low literacy skills receiving Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Payments (ODSP) tools and strategies to enable them to help their children succeed in school. This program was and is sponsored by the municipal government (Region of Waterloo, Income Supports Division). Caseworkers from the Region of Waterloo found that parents receiving OW experienced many barriers to attending a literacy class, the least of which was child care. They sponsored Get Set Learn to help these parents participate in a beneficial program. The caseworkers hoped that not only would the parents learn strategies to help their children be successful in school, but also would go on to attend another literacy program following Get Set Learn, or have the confidence and skill to become employed.

The success of the Get Set Learn program is undeniable. Parents report increased confidence and an increased level of literacy in their homes. Many parents take advantage of a free literacy assessment provided by PRLN and from this starting point go on to further their education through adult literacy classes, St. Louis Adult Education Centre, Region of Waterloo employment programs, or Conestoga College. Parents overwhelmingly agree that the program helped them understand their role as their child’s first teacher, helped them with strategies for learning at home, and helped their families get ready for school.

In 2013 PRLN received a Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors program grant to develop and implement a Get Set Learn program for Grandparent-led families. We saw grandparents increasingly attending our Get Set Learn programs and recognized a need for Grandparents with custody of Grandchildren to attend their own program. The Get Set Learn for Grandparent-led families was successfully launched in Cambridge in 2014. As well, through this grant a series of workshops for Grandparents was developed and offered, using the Get Set Learn template for success. These workshops have been successfully delivered five times in cooperation with community partners in the Waterloo Region-rural and urban areas. In 2016 this first-of-its king series of literacy programs for grandparents received one of three honourable mention awards from ABC Life Literacy, which rewards programs across Canada for innovations in literacy.

Project READ Literacy Network received an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant in 2015 to expand the Get Set Learn program to include families not receiving social assistance and to grow the number of programs and sites offered to families in our area to include Guelph and Wellington County. As well, a series of Get Set Learn workshops for parents will be developed and delivered in 2017.

Program Outcomes

Mission Statement

Project READ Literacy Network defines Family Literacy as parents actively helping themselves and their children to become lifelong learners through a wide variety of daily activities.

Program Outcomes

Get Set Learn gives parents knowledge, skills and opportunity:

  1. to see themselves as their baby or child’s first and most important teacher
  2. to engage in family literacy activities on a regular basis (talk, read, sing, draw and play with shapes and numbers) so that children are more successful at school
  3. to engage in positive discipline practices so that family literacy activities are more successful
  4. to develop relationships with other parents that help them not to feel alone
  5. to advocate for themselves and their children to get the help they need
  6. to develop community connections that can help them move forward with their goals

Family Literacy works

Several agencies in North America have provided research on Family Literacy programs:

  • Read a study on the effects of parents’ education levels and reading ability on the child:
    Family Literacy Matters: A Longitudinal Parent-Child Literacy Intervention Study
    Centre for Family Literacy’s (Edmonton, Alberta) 2006 report:

Contact Us

Get Set Learn Family Literacy programs are developed and provided by

Project READ Literacy Network Waterloo-Wellington
124 Sydney Street South, 3rd Floor
Kitchener, ON
N2G 3V2

General Inquiries:

Executive Director: Jane Tuer

Family Literacy Program Manager: Joanne Davis

Program Assistant: Robin Crank