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Literacy Programs in Toronto, Ontario

Frontier College is Canada's original literacy organization. In Toronto, we recruit volunteers to work with learners in the literacy programs described below. We screen and train all of our volunteers before they go into the community. For more information or to volunteer with Frontier College in Toronto, please call 416-923-3591 or email

Toronto Directory of Children and Youth Learning Support Programs

Toronto Directory of Children and Youth Learning Support ProgramsThis interactive directory is a resource for program coordinators, parents and volunteers who are seeking information on learning programs, such as homework clubs and reading programs for children and youth living in Toronto. It provides information on the location of agencies throughout the city and key information about the learning programs they offer.

Please click here to go directly to the site.

This directory is also available as a PDF. Please send a request to:

Reading Circles

The North York Women's Shelter runs a Reading Circle program once a week with Frontier College volunteers, reading with children housed temporarily at the shelter with their mothers who are escaping violent situations.

Homework Clubs/After-School Learning Programs

The North York Women's Shelter runs a Reading Circle and Homework Club program two evenings a week with Frontier College volunteers. They work with children and women who are escaping violent situations and are temporarily housed at the shelter.

The San Romanoway After-School Program is located at the San Romanoway Revitalization Association. Through the After-School Program, children have an opportunity to learn and study their homework in a safe and supervised environment.

Frontier College also supports the San Romanoway Revitalization Association’s The Achiever’s Project.  This is a program that targets at-risk youth from grades 6 – 8 and supports their learning and confidence-building as they prepare to transition into high school.

Frontier College volunteers help at Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services’ after-school program held at Tumpane Public School. Tutors assist children between the ages of 6 and 9 with reading or completing homework. Some tutors also support the children who are part of Tumpane’s French Immersion program.

Frontier College volunteers have been supporting a children’s program at Daystrom Public School for over 10 years. This is a Toronto Parks and Recreation After-School and Recreation program that focuses on supporting children with their homework, as well as providing them with daily nutrition and physical education.

The after-school program at Gardenview Co-op in Scarborough is for children who reside in the co-operative housing building. This community has few resources and no funding for a children's program. Frontier College volunteers have created a literacy-based curriculum that includes homework help, writing activities and fun literacy games.

St. Gabriel Lalement is part of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, offering JK to grade 8.  The Frontier College after-school program offers learning enrichment activities, including reading and learning games for kids in grades 4 – 6.

The Ecoliteracy program model is to encourage awareness of and learning about various topics and issues relating to the environment and ecology. The program is designed to tie-in with various school initiatives pertaining to the environment, such as waste reduction and recycling in the school.  Students in grades 4 – 6 can participate in this after-school program. This program model takes place at two Toronto elementary schools: Military Trail Public School and Woburn Public School. The program at the Alexandra Park Community Centre provides homework support and other learning activities with a lively and enthusiastic group of elementary school children living in the Sonny Atkinson Co-op in the Alexandra Park community.

The Newcomer Homework Club program helps children and youth in elementary school, from grades 3 – 8, with their homework, reading, and study skills. The program is run in partnership with the Regent Park Community Health Centre and has the strong support of the Somali and African community living in Regent Park.

Frontier College works with the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club in Cabbagetown to provide two after-school programs for elementary school children living in the Regent Park area. This includes the Junior Journalists program that encourages and helps develop the children’s writing skills through a community newsletter written and produced by the children with support from volunteers. The Learning Rocks program is an after-school homework support club.

Frontier College also works with the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club to provide an after-school homework and learning support program at their St. Mary’s school site near Bathurst and King streets.

The Manulife Financial Homework Club and Tutoring programs are unique workplace-based programs for elementary school children from nearby schools. During tutoring hours, homework support and literacy skills are provided by Manulife employees who volunteer their time as tutors. The employees are trained by Frontier College and both partnerships have a dedicated team of volunteers that help coordinate the site. Partnerships are set up with local schools where grades 7 & 8 students commit one year to attending the program. Programming takes place once a week with students attending one of two participating Manulife offices in downtown Toronto.

The Neptune Homework Club and Youth Mentorship program offers both a homework club for youth ages 7 – 13 and a mentorship program for youth 14 and up. Older youth in this program are encouraged to participate as tutors for younger peers while at the same time developing leadership and volunteer experience. Community volunteers are also recruited to assist with learning on site. Learning is cultivated in the areas of homework help, educational games, workshops, computer use, reading, writing and numeracy.

Shelter Programs

Dr. Roz's Healing Place is a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Programs run two evenings a week and volunteers are involved with helping the kids, who range in age from 5 – 17, with homework and learning support.

Julliette's Place (Homeward Family Shelter) is a community-based agency that provides safe refuge for abused women and their children. Volunteers work with children from pre-school to high school, helping build reading skills, and providing homework help and ongoing literacy support.

Pre-School Learning Programs

Frontier College works with the Alexandra Park Community Centre to provide an early literacy program for pre-school children, ages 4 –6, from newcomer families where English is not spoken at home. Tutors help the children with reading, phonics, basic numeracy and other early literacy skills.

In-Class Tutoring with Children and Youth

Military Trail Public School (TDSB) has close to 500 students from JK –grade 8, from very diverse backgrounds. The in-class program places tutors in classrooms to assist students who need extra learning support, as directed by the teacher. Tutors often stay for more than one period, giving them more time to get to know and support the children.

Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute offers students from grades 9 –OAC extensive courses in academic, performing arts, production arts, visual arts and technology. Frontier College tutors provide one-to-one or in-class support with homework, reading and general literacy skills for students in the Special Education program.

Heydon Park Secondary School is the only secondary school for girls in Toronto, serving girls and young women from all over the city who have not been able to succeed in the regular school system.  The school provides a highly supportive, small class learning environment for the students. The tutoring program provides in-class literacy and learning support for students to help them keep up with their school work.

One-to-one Tutoring with Adults

The Native Women's Resource Centre provides various support services for Aboriginal women, including literacy programs. Tutors provide one-to-one literacy support for learners, some of whom move on to a GED program.

English as a Second Language (ESL) for New Canadians

The Families Learning Together program in Scarborough offers one-to-one or small group tutoring for adult newcomers to Canada, as well as a learning program for their school-age children. While the adults are engaged with their tutors, the children work on developing their reading and writing skills, receive help with homework, and participate in various interactive learning games with a group of volunteer tutors. This arrangement allows families to participate in the learning program together without the need for arranging childcare.

The Newcomer Adult ESL Program in Regent Park is an off-shoot of the Homework Club program. Most of the learners are parents of the children in the program, primarily Somali, East African and South Asian women who have had limited opportunity to study English in Canada and may have had limited schooling in their home countries. Tutors and learners focus on essential English reading, writing and communication skills, as well as job search and citizenship.

The Adult ESL Program at the Alexandra Park Community Centre assists parents and grandparents of pre-school children who are participating in the Early Years program at the centre. Learners range from basic beginner to intermediate level. Tutors work one-to-one or with small groups of learners, assisting them with essential English communication skills, including vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking.

Independent Studies

The Independent Studies Program is a community-based adult literacy program offered in several Toronto locations that provides learning opportunities to people with disabilities. The program helps students work towards greater self-confidence and personal independence so that they can take part in or move on to other educational, employment or life opportunities. Most of the learners live with some form of cognitive or developmental disability, so the program is not suitable for students with diagnosed or suspected learning disabilities.

We look for volunteers who enjoy the challenges and rewards of working with adults who may have different ways of learning and defining progress. There are no "special techniques" or "expert methods" for working with people with developmental disabilities. We assist real people to develop realistic skills that help them live in the real world. The role of the tutor is to facilitate learning through encouragement, guidance and support to achieve meaningful learning goals set with a student.

Learners work on learning outcomes such as reading, writing, math and basic computer skills in a creative project-based way. These learning outcomes also include interpersonal skills, life skills, learning how to learn skills, improving confidence, self-esteem, and practical living skills.

Beat the Street

Frontier College offers programs for youth at several Toronto locations. The Beat the Street services include literacy upgrading, a GED preparation course and computer skills training. The program includes literacy and basic skills training, a GED preparation course, and computer skills training. Participants can focus on one or two areas or can move through all three.

Beat the Street/Literacy and Basic Skills
The Literacy and Basic Skills program helps students improve reading, writing, and math skills so that they can find and keep a job, or go on to further education or training. Students learn in a supportive environment.

Beat the Street/GED Preparation Course
This course prepares students to pass the GED exams at the Independent Learning Centre and receive the Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the Ministry of Education. Completing the GED exam opens doors to post-secondary education and helps students qualify for apprenticeships.

Beat the Street/Computer Skills Training
The computer skills training program offers a flexible way for students to gain valuable computer skills. They learn Microsoft Office using the latest interactive, computer-based training program. Students can also receive certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist in our authorized testing centre. This is the only comprehensive certification program designed to validate desktop computer skills using Microsoft Office programs.

Skilled Trades Academic Upgrading
In partnership with the skilled trade unions, Frontier College provides participants with a range of essential skills and comprehensive academic upgrading courses to help them meet the entrance apprenticeship requirements. Participants are enrolled in a multi-week intensive program comprised of correspondence courses accredited by the Independent Learning Centre (ILC). With support from Frontier College tutors and program staff, participants acquire the academic and essential literacy skills necessary to help them enter the workforce.

For more information or to volunteer with Frontier College in Toronto, please call 416-923-3591 or email