Mentors add joy to reading experience

Augusta Margaret River Times
Year 2 student Arie Dean, with volunteer Julie Harper, and associate principal Hayley Kirkup at Rapids landing Primary School.
Camera IconYear 2 student Arie Dean, with volunteer Julie Harper, and associate principal Hayley Kirkup at Rapids landing Primary School. Credit: Warren Hately

Rapids Landing Primary School is on the lookout for more community mentors keen to join its successful student literacy program.

Community-run initiative Hands Up 4 Kids brings volunteer residents into the school to help younger students across all year groups become more confident readers.

Volunteers sit with students during class time, helping guide their reading aloud.

According to associate principal Hayley Kirkup, the program is not just for struggling readers, but to expand the reach of the school’s literacy and engagement with books for all students.

“You get the beauty of walking past when it is happening and the students are so engaged when they are reading out loud,” Ms Kirkup said.

“There’s also the relationships that are being forged and the communications they have.”

The school has four volunteers — co-ordinated by Janet Akaczonek, with Jana Wittorff the zone co-ordinator for Margaret River — and more reading mentors would allow more students to get involved.

Rapids Landing Primary School principal Lisa Helenius said the program, which started in July, also helped with the school’s community engagement.

She said the Hands Up 4 Kids program was helping buck the trend away from books, giving students the chance to read as well as discuss what they were reading.

“Reading is having a comeback,” she said.

Growth in engaging books produced for younger readers also helped interest students and Mrs Helenius said she didn’t think there was the same competition from screen technology as many feared.

“It gives every child the chance to have that moment in reading aloud,” she said.

Volunteers were encouraged to contact the school on 9757 8200.

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