About the Program
Reading for Life was designed by a psychologist, teacher and speech pathologist to provide one-on-one support to children with reading difficulties. Trained volunteers work at school with the children to improve their reading, self-esteem and confidence, via a variety of fun activities and games to encourage engagement and interest. Reading buddies visit the children once a week for 15 weeks and take them through a semi-structured program.
Reading for life has been enormously successful since its development in 2003, with children making valuable gains in reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Also, most importantly, the confidence and enjoyment of reading in participating children has increased, influencing their self-esteem and motivation to learn. Volunteer reading buddies have also benefited enormously from their involvement in the program, recognising the difference they have made to children’s lives.
Who will benefit?
Children with reading disorders, like dyslexia, are vulnerable. Reading is fundamental to learning and if children are unable to master this vital skill their whole academic and employment future if affected. Through this project we aim to increase the reading skills of these children and improve their self-esteem and motivation to learn.
By intervening at an early age (Years 2 to 4) we aim to prevent children leaving school with limited literacy outcomes. Australia’s Year 4 children ranked 27th in the world in reading skills and last of the English Speaking Nations in a recent international study on reading and helping children who struggle at this age. Addressing reading problems during the primary school years will have a long-term impact on the child. As they move into high school, the ability to read is essential, as without it they will struggle to move ahead academically.
Impact on Community
On average children who have participated in the Reading for Life program have made the following gains over the 15 week program:
- Reading accuracy – improved by 8 months
- Reading comprehension – improved by 9 months
- Sight words – added 33 words
- Reading self-concept – up 10%
- Phonological awareness – ranking increased by 18/100
Success through this program will reduce the children’s vulnerability and their feelings of worthlessness. This will reduce the likelihood of poor behaviour, poor social relations and delinquency. Addressing learning and literacy is important if we want children to have the best chance of success.
Each child is tested prior to the program to determine their reading levels across a number of areas and their self-concept. They are re-tested again at the end of the program to determine their improvement. This information is compiled into a report that is given to the school and each parent. Feedback is also requested from the school, reading buddies, children and their parents at the conclusion of the program.
Currently seeking volunteers for the following areas:
- Blue Haven/Doyalson
- Canterbury-Bankstown (multiple programs)
- North Strathfield
What the Reading for Life kids say… “Thank you for helping me with my reading” “She was fun, a friend and helpful” “She was a good teacher” “Thanks for teaching me, it was fun and good” “He is fun, like a friend” “Thanks for teaching me reading” “I became more interested in reading books.” “The words I could not read before, now I can read.”