Bear Creek Elementary 23-24


At Bear Creek Elementary, we pride ourselves in providing a welcoming school environment that embraces community involvement and cultivates a sense of belonging. We continually work towards creating a culture that embraces the diversity of our students and an understanding of each student’s individual story. Our community is deeply connected to and acknowledges that we work, play, and learn on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and other Coast Salish Peoples. 

We offer support and opportunities for our students to ensure they feel secure, nurtured, and enabled to thrive, both inside and outside the classroom. In partnership with Community Schools, students can participate in several different programs: ‘Girls in Action’, PAWS After-School Program, Mini Code Blue and Star Power. Our focus is on empowering our students, ensuring they feel they have opportunities to make a positive impact on their school and community. Students in primary and intermediate grades can participate in Choir and the Bhangra Dance Club and in the intermediate grades, can participate in soccer, volleyball, basketball, badminton and track & field. Band is offered to our Grade 7 students interested in learning to play an instrument.  

At Bear Creek, student connection is cultivated through a delicious program known as Adam’s Apples! Each day, numerous students visit the office to receive two apples—one for themselves and another for a friend. Through this simple gesture of sharing, students can share and connect with one another, creating a stronger community. 

Bear Creek students have a passion for literacy and love to read. We foster this passion with quality literature and resources that support learning in all curricular areas. Last year, our school was awarded the “Indigo Love of Reading Grant” where we will receive $75 000.00 in books and literacy resources over three years.  

We take pride in our students’ strengths and their ability to support each other in achieving their personal and academic successes. At Bear Creek, our students strive to be compassionate, accountable, respectful, empathetic and safe.


Reading fluency and comprehension play a crucial role in our learners’ overall academic success and confidence. We know that proficient readers engage with a variety of texts, understand what they read, and can critically reflect. However, before learners can become proficient readers, they must first be fluent readers. Fluency involves mastering the foundations of decoding, word recognition, language structures, and phonological awareness. These reading elements combined with reading accuracy, rate, and automaticity are the main ingredients that make for a proficient fluent reader. Reading fluency can be described as the bridge between decoding and comprehension (Rasinski, 2003). As our learners improve their ability to decode, they also become more fluent.  

Our learners are building vocabulary. 

Fluent readers often have a larger vocabulary. As students read more quickly and with understanding, they encounter a broader range of words and phrases, which contributes to the expansion of their vocabulary and broader understanding of what they read. We facilitate this by using Words Their Way, an assessment-based, differentiated, leveled, hands-on approach to spelling and word work. 

Our learners are building their confidence around reading. 

Students experiencing success in reading are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards learning in general. As our learners grow their reading skills and fluency, they are motivated to read more, and the positive cycle continues.  

This photo represents our learners reading aloud to one another, practicing their reading fluency. Our learners regularly read aloud with purpose to adults, teachers, and peers. 

Our learners are growing their independence. 

Reading fluency is essential for independent learning. Our learners who read fluently are better equipped to study on their own, conduct research, and engage with various types of written materials independently. 

Our learners find joy and creativity in books and texts, which improves reading success. 

Our learners identified books and texts that have significant meaning to them during the River of Reading  project. As we know, the highest predictor of later success in school is enjoyment of reading as reading opens the door to learning (Gutierrez-de-Rozas et al., 2022). 


Our school has identified reading fluency as an area of growth for our students, and this has guided our instructional focus. Teaching fluency lays the foundation for lifelong literacy skills. It enables young learners to read with accuracy, speed, and expression, enhancing comprehension and enjoyment of texts. With teachers focusing on fluency instruction, students are then able to navigate increasingly complex reading materials with confidence, fostering a love for reading as seen in the Rivers of Reading project. Once students are able to read fluently, they can devote their effort and attention to higher-level comprehension tasks and engage more deeply with texts.

The Learning Standard we are focusing on:

Use a variety of comprehension strategies, specifically fluency,  during reading to deepen understanding of text.

We closely monitored a group of intermediate students to pinpoint their achievements and areas needing improvement in fluency. Data was collected in the early fall of 2023, guiding targeted instruction to enhance fluency for the remainder of the school year.

Our learners can understand and comprehend the material they are reading. When they can read smoothly and effortlessly, they can focus more on understanding the content rather than struggling with decoding words. 


To support our learners in developing reading fluency, strategies such as repeated reading, modeling fluent reading, choral reading, vocabulary instruction, and partner reading were facilitated in whole class and small group settings. Early identification and intervention for struggling readers was and continues to be essential. Our learners of all ages regularly read with an adult in the classroom.

Students were evaluated for comprehension and fluency using the RAD assessment tool alongside the Provincial Proficiency Scale. Furthermore, students received descriptive feedback throughout the year from the teacher, emphasizing their strengths and outlining areas for improvement. The assessment data indicates that our students made progress in their ability to read fluently. 

From fall to spring, we observed growth within the cohort. The number of students emerging decreased by 4%, while the number of students developing dropped by 12%. In contrast, there was a 16% increase in students demonstrating proficient fluency skills by late spring. Interestingly, the number of students extending remained stable, showing neither an increase nor a decrease. Overall, we now have 50% of students in the cohort reading with fluency at a proficient level, up from 34% in the fall. Going forward, an immediate focus will be to increase the number of students reading at a proficient level to over 50%.

Based on teacher reflection during the final assessment period, 50% of students are now reading fluently and using the strategies that were practiced over the year. Students were typically drawn towards partner reading and small group practice. The teacher observed that explicit fluency instruction has had an impactful effect on student progress in this area of learning. Given that no students moved from proficient to extending, providing opportunities for students to expand their capacity for reading comprehension and fluency will be an ongoing focus and priority.  

After achieving fluency in reading, students can direct their efforts and attention to more advanced comprehension tasks, enabling them to engage more deeply with texts. Here is a sample of a student from the cohort who made great gains throughout the year in reading fluency. 

Insights and reflections from the cohort teachers:

“When given time to practice fluency, our focus student demonstrated increased confidence and expression. One strategy that made a substantial difference was mirror reading (recording themselves reading and then watching it). This strategy allowed the student to think about what their strengths are and areas they can improve on. This strategy resulted in improved speed and expression during the second recording. During the Fall RAD assessment, our focus student demonstrated a developing ability in reading fluency. By the Spring RAD assessment, after seven months of focusing on fluency reading strategies, our student progressed to a proficient level of reading fluency. In addition, the student has a generally more positive attitude towards reading due to the Rivers of Reading project. They started off saying, “I don’t like any books” to creating a project that showed the books that have made a significant impact throughout their life.” 

Improving students reading fluency with intentional and direct strategies has positively impacted student academic confidence across subject areas. Reading fluency for English Language Learners is an area of learning that can be difficult to master. After a few months of direct fluency instruction that included, one-on-one reading, rereading familiar and unfamiliar texts, choral reading, buddy reading, and reciting poetry, the focus student volunteered to read aloud presenting at the school assembly. The improvement in their confidence was remarkable!”

Continuing the Journey

At Bear Creek Elementary, we are proud of the progress our students have made in increasing their fluency skills.  Based on evidence of students’ progress in relation to our learning goals, our next steps will include: 

- Continuing to embrace fluency and intentionally use instructional strategies to allow opportunities for students to further build their fluency skills. 

- Provide students who are extending in fluency and comprehension ways to grow as a reader and develop their skills even further. 

- Continue working with Surrey School District Literacy Helping Teachers and the Responding to Readers project to implement a reading program focused on comprehension skills.

- For the 2024-2025 school year, we will expand our cohort and data will be gathered from both primary and intermediate grade levels to gain a school-wide perspective on comprehension and fluency of students across all grades. We will aim to increase the number of students proficient in reading fluency to over 50%.

At Bear Creek, we are dedicated to ensuring that all students acquire the literacy skills and proficiencies essential for success in school and beyond. As we continually monitor, reflect, and refine our learning plan, we will also prioritize the equitable distribution of instruction, time, and resources focusing on supporting and reaching our most vulnerable learners.

Surrey Schools

Formed in 1906, the Surrey School District currently has the largest student enrolment in British Columbia and is one of the few growing districts in the province. It is governed by a publicly elected board of seven trustees.

The district serves the cities of Surrey and White Rock and the rural area of Barnston Island.

Surrey Schools
14033 - 92 Avenue Surrey,
British Columbia V3V 0B7