Grade 3 Okanagan Landing Elementary student Cole Gardner gets some One to One reading support from volunteer Maureen Richmond

Grade 3 Okanagan Landing Elementary student Cole Gardner gets some One to One reading support from volunteer Maureen Richmond

One to One a hit with volunteers

The Junction has been providing the One to One Children’s Literacy Program since 1996.

It may be the kids who benefit most from a local One to One reading program, but its the volunteers who gain an instant gratification from the improvements they foster.

“It’s really rewarding,” said Maureen Richmond, who has been volunteering just an hour and a half once a week with the Junction Literacy Centre program  since she retired from her teaching career in 2013.

“I definitely see an improvement in their fluency, confidence and they’re maybe more enthusiastic about reading.

“It’s really neat to see.”

The Junction has been providing the One to One Children’s Literacy Program in the Vernon School District elementary schools since 1996.

But more volunteers are needed to keep the program running smoothly and helping kids. Therefore training sessions are scheduled for Jan. 22 and 26 for anyone interested in donating just an hour and a half each week at a local school to get kids on track with their reading skills. Anyone interested can contact Bonnie Hutton at bhutton@junctionliteracy.ca or 250-549-2216.

“Anybody who wants to be a teacher or CEA it’s great for your resume,” said Hutton, literacy outreach coordinator. “Or university students looking for experience.”

Anyone, from stay-at-home parents to students with a block of free time, can make a difference, but men are especially popular with the kids since there aren’t many male volunteers.

The program runs from Feb. 2 to May 2 and volunteers can choose a morning or afternoon reading period any day of the week, at any of the schools, including Cherryville, Lavington and the Okanagan Indian Band.

It can make a real difference for those kids who are somewhere in between good readers and those who need learning assistance.

“Reluctant readers,” said Hutton.

It’s those kids who would benefit from some extra one-on-one time, which is often not available.

“As a teacher you have so much to do so you’re likely not going to have time to sit down and read with a student for an hour and a half,” said Hutton.

Just a basic ability to read is necessary from volunteers, who are taught additional strategies to assist students.

“A lot of them read on their own or sometimes we share and they read a page and I read a page,” said Richmond.

For kids like eight-year-old Cole Gardner, it’s a special moment during the week, when he lights up when it’s his turn to go to the special One to One room to read.

Perusing the collection of titles in his category, Gardner explains just what takes place every Wednesday afternoon for him.

“You read, and after two or three books you get to play a game.

“You might read a real live book or a fake book.”