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Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society seeks volunteer tutors

Help young readers flourish

Reading makes people smarter.

If people are smarter, their community flourishes.

If their community flourishes, life is better for everyone.

You can now play a role in that process. Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society is looking for volunteers who would be interested in helping children read—both online and in person—through the One to One Reading Program.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Project Literacy COS executive director Paul Zuurbier says. “This will be our fourth year with the program, and we always get some really great feedback from the volunteers. You’re working with them for roughly six months, and these kids really bond with you.

“The reason they’re struggling with the reading is not only that they don’t get enough reading support, but often they don’t get enough time with adults.”

In addition to English-speaking tutors, Project Literacy this year is also looking for volunteers who can speak and read French, as it is now working with a French school that is interested in helping its students. Overall, the One to One Reading Program works with four Central Okanagan Public Schools institutions as well as those who are home schooled or part of the e-learning system.

The children in the program are in Grades 1-4, and the reading help sessions can take place either during or after school hours. Research shows students who fail to learn good reading skills by Grade 4 will often struggle with reading their whole life. Good reading skills are one of the top determinants of a student doing well in grade school and post-secondary education.

“They curriculum doesn’t allow enough time for the child to fully learn reading within school hours,” Zuurbier says. “It so important for the kids, because it helps them with not just their reading, but it helps with their confidence.”

The tutoring sessions are scheduled to start in January and would consist of a pair of 30-minute sessions per week until the end of the school year. Potential tutors require a criminal record check and reference letter.

Zuurbier says the One to One Reading Program is perfect for stay-at-home moms, university students who are looking for experience and grandparents who have grandchildren of their own and know how important reading is.

Tutors will be asked to take a few notes on how their students are progressing and track which books they read.

Most importantly, knowing they helped a young person become a better reader will be the best part of all.

“We still can’t get away from the written word and the printed word,” Zuurbier says. “Having that skill is going to be necessary for this generation coming up as it was for those of us before them.”

Anyone interested in becoming a tutor in the One to One Reading Program is encouraged to email co-ordinator Katia Bois at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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