Sydney students help others to read
Thirty-one students at Sydney's Saint Ignatius' College, ranging in age from 12 to 16, will give up 20 minutes of their free time three times a week over the next two school terms to help younger students improve their literacy skills.
The boys have committed to taking part in the student2student reading literacy program, facilitated by children's charity The Smith Family. It will see them regularly phoning younger students, who are assisted by The Smith Family's Learning for Life scholarship at different schools and are in need of support with their literacy development. Students are only told their mentors' first names and vice versa, with all mentoring undertaken over the phone.
Each week the mentors will listen to their younger charges read, offering constructive feedback to help boost their confidence and develop their reading skills. Each student mentor has received special training to help develop literacy skills in others and will in turn be supported by a volunteer mentor supervisor.
"This year we have three students volunteering for the second year in a row to act as mentors through student2student, as well as an additional 27students who have committed to helping others in this way," said Saint Ignatius' Faith in Service Co-ordinator, Anthony Reilly.
"We commend the students' commitment to helping others, especially as they are giving freely of their time to help fellow students whom they will never meet in person," he added.
The Smith Family's own research into student2student nationally has revealed 85 percent of past participants agreed that their participation in the program helped them feel more confident with their school work. In addition, 90 percent of participants' parents agreed that the program helped their child feel better about themselves.
"The benefits of student2student are two-fold," said Regional General Manager of The Smith Family, Gillian Odbert. "Younger students are motivated by older peers to improve their reading and mentors in turn develop leadership abilities which they will carry with them long after the program concludes."
The Smith Family is a national, independent children's charity, committed to unlocking opportunities for children so that they may reach their potential through education and learning.