Eight-year-old Bradley Simpson reads with Bonnie Hutton

Eight-year-old Bradley Simpson reads with Bonnie Hutton

Program encourages love for reading

One to One isn’t even possible without the volunteers who spend that time with the kids.

Just last year, Bradley Simpson struggled with reading but now the eight-year-old has his nose in Harry Potter novels.

Simpson’s Grade 2 Harwood Elementary teacher noticed the difficulty Simpson was having last year and recommended him for the One to One Children’s Literacy Program.

“He doubled his reading ability just in that 12 weeks,” said Jennifer Stewart, a school-based resource teacher at Harwood.

And his success wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the program volunteers, who sat down with Simpson 30 minutes a day, four times a week.

“I loved it. It was really fun with all the games and the books,” said Simpson, now an avid Grade 3 reader who says books are fun and interesting.

“Since I read books a lot I’m really fast.”

His mom even recently caught him reading Harry Potter.

“She said, ‘how are you reading that?’”

It’s all thanks to the strategies and skills Simpson learned in the program, which boosted his reading ability, confidence and enjoyment.

“The more reading we do, the more we develop a love for reading,” said Stewart.

But the program isn’t even possible without the volunteers who spend that time with the kids.

The program runs in every school in the district, including Cherryville, Lavington and at the Okanagan Indian Band. But it takes approximately 12 volunteers per school to run it.

“Every school right now needs a couple people,” said Bonnie Hutton, district co-ordinator of the program, which is run by the Junction Literacy Centre.

While teaching a young child to read may seem like a daunting task, the only requirement is a love of reading.

“You can never hurt a child by reading with them,” said Hutton.

Volunteers are trained and then they spend an hour and half (either one morning or afternoon) a week from mid-October to mid-May in the school.

“It’s a bit of a commitment but it makes a huge difference in the reading ability of kids,” said Stewart. “And it’s so important to help them develop those skills at an early age.”

Training sessions take place Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1, therefore anyone interested is urged to sign up by visiting junctionliteracycentre.ca or by calling 250-275-3117. Those interested who can’t make the training dates will be accommodated.

Anyone, from retired teachers to college students and even parents interested in making a difference can take part.

“A lot of them are parents whose kids are already grown and they just want to give back to the community,” said Hutton.

For students like Simpson, between grades one and five, the skill learned is one benefit, but the one-on-one time with caring adults is an added benefit.

“They’re excited, they make a connection, it’s fun,” said Hutton.

And the reward for the volunteers is also immense.

“What they get out of it is much more than what they put in.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read