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Now Charlotte reads in front of the whole school

Charlotte student2student

It was just a day like any other. Charlotte’s mum dropped off Charlotte at her grandparents’ place and went to work. But she never came back. That was seven years ago and it still affects Charlotte today.

“Charlotte's mum is our youngest daughter and she got mixed up with drugs. When she didn't come home, for three days we had no idea where she was until she finally contacted us,” said Carmel, Charlotte’s grandma. 

“Charlotte was four years old at the time and has been with us ever since.”

In a heartbeat, Carmel and her husband went from retired pensioners to raising a young child. They were determined to give Charlotte, now aged 11, a stable and loving home. Yet Charlotte’s past had knocked her confidence.

“She was quite reserved, which was understandable given her background,” said Carmel.

“Charlotte wouldn't get up in front of the class and speak. At school assemblies they all took turns doing speaking parts with the microphone and she would never, ever do that.”

Three years ago, Carmel realised that Charlotte’s lack of confidence was affecting her learning. She had fallen around a year behind in her reading and her teacher was worried about her ability to keep up in class.

The continued generosity of our supporters means that students like Charlotte can access out-of-school reading support through our student2student reading program. Through the 18-week program a struggling student gets help as they read over the phone to an older student reading buddy.

Carmel reading with her granddaughter Charlotte

Charlotte and Carmel

“Since Charlotte did student2student her reading has blossomed. She has become more outgoing and has more confidence. She even speaks at assemblies,” said Carmel.

“There has also been a noticeable difference in her academic performance at school.”

Charlotte couldn’t be prouder of her progress. All she needed was some extra support after school to help unlock her potential. And Champions like you made that possible. You ensure disadvantaged students like Charlotte get the same chances in life. There is no stopping her now.

“Before student2student, I was reading quite small books and I was having trouble with the words and understanding what they actually meant,” said Charlotte.

“My buddy, Claudia, was a really good helper. If I got a word or sentence wrong, she would say, ‘Could you try that again?’ If I didn’t know what it meant, she would explain it to me.

“I love to read now. I won't stop reading. It has improved my maths a lot too. I'm better at reading the questions. And I’m better with my writing, spelling and pretty much everything!”

Last year, 1,396 students like Charlotte took part in student2student. And the results were great, with 96% saying student2student improved their reading ability. Carmel has seen Charlotte really thrive in the classroom as a result.

“It means children can learn a lot more because their brain is switched on and they're enjoying it. They're having fun but learning at the same time. They're not stressed or worried,” said Carmel.

“Your support helps everything – their confidence and self-worth, as well as improving their performance at school. That's a great thing to do for a child. Thank you, I think these programs are the best thing ever!”

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