YouthNet needs more volunteer reading mentors
The Reading Mentoring Programme matches individuals or teams (from the community, business sector, and high school) with students in public primary school classrooms to strengthen literacy skills.
Not only do the mentors help improve attitudes towards reading, but also, there is no doubt that they play a vital role in conveying the joy of picking up a book.
YouthNet aims to inspire students in reading, and ultimately for them to understand how reading is necessary to advance in school and succeed in life.
Many of their students don't have someone in their lives who will regularly read with them.
Spending about an hour each week reading to, or listening to groups of children read, builds meaningful connections and helps fill this gap.
One teacher stated: “When I would arrive, the kids' faces would light up and they would hug me. Made me feel like I was a part of their day they looked forward to.”
Teachers agree that reading mentoring reinforces the concepts taught in class.
“Reading mentors are essential for children who don't have someone outside of the teacher to guide the development of reading skills, so they allow students to read in a more relaxed environment, with the support they would find in the classroom.”
When mentors arrive each week, they report how much their students love it. “Students look forward to the readers coming each week. The fact that the persons coming have gentle spirits and are very kind and enthusiastic is a bonus. Some children very rarely see adults away from school that are happy and nurturing, and to see them every week is a blessing.”
Here is some of what YouthNet's reading mentees have to say:
• “It makes me feel very good inside, because she always comes on Mondays and she always says I'm doing good and she always lets me read the last page. I want to be a reading mentor.”
• “My mentor taught me how to be friends with my reading group.”
• “I have fun because it is fun reading and I like reading. I don't have a book at home.”
• “I like that my mentor reads us adventure stories and learning about the world.”
One long-time mentor states it perfectly: “We need more reading mentor volunteers and I'd certainly encourage anyone who has the time to become a mentor. I think it's one of the most rewarding things you can do.”