Francesco Lachiance gets a hand sounding out a word while reading with Cheré Lane at the Vernon Boys and Girls Club during the After School Reading Program. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Telus supports second chapter of Vernon reading program

Literacy initiative gains $10,000 boost

Local kids struggling to read have dialed into some major support.

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation has donated $10,000 to the After School Reading Program, run by the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan.

The program runs twice a year and enrolls 16 students, usually in Grades 2-4 and some Grade 1 students, two days a week at the Vernon Boys and Girls Club.

Kids are bused from their schools to the Club, where they enjoy a snack while they are read a story.

See also: Literacy Society of North Okanagan offers small group reading support

“Then we have different activities for them to do and while they do stations we pull two or three of them out and sit down and read with them,” said teacher Brigitt Johnson, who is joined by Brianne Mooney to spend some one-on-one time with the students. “Then we can really target what that particular student needs.”

For some, it can be struggling to recognize short and long vowel sounds, for others it may be a challenge with reading strategies.

“It’s really meant to support readers that have already had some instruction they may just have some gaps.”

And judging by the smiles on the kids’ faces, they seem to enjoy the program.

“We call it a reading club and really try to make it fun because they’ve already been in school all day,” said Johnson.

In fact, the kids in the first program, which took place last fall, were eager to continue in the spring session.

“We’ve had great feedback from the parents too,” said Wendy Aasen, Literacy Society executive director.

Trina Devine works at the Boys and Girls Club and also has her son in the After School Reading Program and has seen a major improvement.

“My child is in the autism spectrum and at the beginning of school, they said he might not even finish Grade 1. Now we are doing Grade 2 studies. He has seen huge success. The light bulb turned on for sure.”

See also: Vernon back to school reading refresher is back

And such success is continuing, thanks to Telus’ major donation.

“It will go a long way,” said Aasen of the free program.

“The Thompson Okanagan Community Board and the Telus Friendly Future Foundation are proud to support programs supporting vulnerable youth, and we are incredibly happy and proud to support this amazing program,” said Brangwen Mooney, with Telus.

Those interested in the program can email


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Kids from the After School Reading Program at the Vernon Boys and Girls Club give a thumbs up to a $10,000 donation from Telus, presented by Brangwen Mooney (back left), to Literacy Society of the North Okanagan executive director Wendy Aasen and Boys and Girls Club facilitators Trina Devine and Cheré Lane. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

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