The late Ruth Kovacs with some of the many students at Mission Hill school that she read with over the years with the One to One program.

The late Ruth Kovacs with some of the many students at Mission Hill school that she read with over the years with the One to One program.

Ruth leaves a legacy of literacy

Ruth Kovacs loved her involvement with the One to One Children's Literacy Program

For close to 20 years, countless children at Mission Hill elementary school have improved their reading skills thanks to the dedication of Ruth Kovacs.

Starting in 1996, Kovacs was supporter, coordinator and tutor for the One to One Children’s Literacy Program at the school.

Kovacs passed away last year, but her legacy lives on, through the dedication of Ruth’s Reading Room at Mission Hill and the Ruth Kovacs Literary Award.

“Last fall, in failing health, Ruth told me she had a wish: to have a final visit to her One to One room,” said Debbie Schiller, executive director of the Junction Literacy Centre, which runs the One to One program. “That wish turned into a tea attended by many volunteer tutors, teachers and other admirers.

“During the tea, the Mission Hill school community announced that the One to One Room would in the future always be known as Ruth’s Reading Room.”

That same day, the literacy society presented Kovacs with the first Ruth Kovacs Literacy Award, to honour her dedication to children and the One to One program; it will be an annual award that bears her name.

Criteria for the award includes an unconditional commitment to literacy; someone who quietly, selflessly does literacy work under the radar,  year after year; a person who makes an impact, empowers families and inspires communities.

This year’s award recipient will be announced in late September.

“True to form, when Ruth passed away last February, she requested that donations be made in her memory to the One to One program,” said Schiller. “The books we were able to purchase with the $500 we received will be welcome additions to the One to One libraries at Mission Hill and two other elementary schools.”