‘Reading Helpers’, a program to support struggling readers, was initiated at the library, in early July. Every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, for about an hour and a half, six children have been coming in regularly, where they each have a teacher who works with them on a one-on-one basis. It took a few sessions to gauge each child’s level and to build a certain rapport. Even though the youngest are first and the oldest in fourth, they are all beginner reader level.
Each session begins with a story that is either read to them by their respective ’helper’ or which they read aloud. Using the story as the base, they then work on word building, rhyming games, activities to build on their phonological awareness and other language comprehension activities. Art plays an important part at the session. Once more using the story as reference, each child is encouraged to draw words or a picture, to which they add two or three sentences. In this way when they read back to their ‘helper’ what they have written the text is meaningful, as it has come from the child and hence it becomes easier to read.
At least twice in the month, a Read Aloud is done, where all the children come together to listen to a story that is read out to them. They enjoy this and respond enthusiastically.
While the younger ones need some support in their reading it is clear that there is much work to be done with the older ones. Seeing their enthusiasm and confidence grow, the ‘helpers’ know that the first step has been taken.