Our Volunteer Readers Program supports Grade 1 students by helping them improve their reading skills, build confidence and explore new ideas in the presence of a caring and friendly adult - most often parents and occasionally retired members of the community. Reading aloud has many important benefits, like enhancing memory and comprehension, as well as phonological awareness and articulation. It allows students to process narrative at a deeper level. By reading aloud, students engage their auditory memory thus strengthening it, which is especially important in today's predominantly visual world.
Class teachers identify those students who could benefit from extra reading practice. The children come out of their class and read one-on-one with a volunteer in a quiet room which helps them concentrate. The reading session is about 20 minutes long and up to 3 times a week. Students seem to really enjoy this positive experience as they get to choose books for reading and get fun stickers at the end. Sessions are informal in nature and volunteers let students lead them, i.e. ask questions or initiate a conversation. There is a culminating activity at the end of the year/reading course.