Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the tag “writing”

Giving The Gift of Reading

Thanks to a generous donation by the Peninsula 77 Round Table, we were able to purchase boxes of brand-new books for our Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme – opening up a whole new world of opportunity and imagination!

We think it's safe to say these books have been a huge hit with the learners and volunteers alike!

Members of the Peninsula 77 Round Table with Mr Balie, the Kewtown Primary principal, and volunteers and learners from the Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme

Since starting in May 2011, the Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme  has aimed to improve the reading ability of Grade 2 learners at Kewtown Primary using the successfully tested Shine Centre model, which pairs volunteers with one or two Grade 2 learners for a session once or twice a week.

The learners enjoying story time :)

We wonder what this story is about?!

The Literacy Programme is currently providing one-on-one tutoring to 10 Grade 2 learners at Kewtown Primary with the help of 11 volunteers.

And the volunteers hard work is paying off! The last assessments showed that the literacy levels of those currently in the programme improved by an average of 20% whilst those not in the programme improved by an average of 10%.

The learners enjoying the new books :)

The learners enjoying the new books 🙂

But what would a literacy programme be without a range of beautiful and inspiring books to help nurture within each learner a love for reading? The donation from the Peninsula 77 Round Table has taken the Literacy Programme to the next level by providing a fresh and much-needed supply of books to help the volunteers encourage and motivate the learners.

“We are so grateful for the new books as now we have variety for the children and they are excited about the shared reading time again,” -John Kensley, volunteer

The literacy programme centre at Kewtown Primary

The Literacy Programme centre in the Kewtown Primary library

“These books are exactly what we needed to make shared reading a fun, exciting time.” – Gavin Copeland, volunteer

A huge thank you to the Peninsula 77 Round Table for this donation which will impact the lives of so many children. Not only will these books help the volunteers to tutor the learners so their literacy levels can improve, but they’ll also help develop what will hopefully be a lifelong love of reading. A gift that will keep on giving!

Literacy Programme learners waiting to tuck in to the celebratory cupcakes :)

Literacy Programme learners waiting to enjoy the celebratory cupcakes 🙂

Interested in volunteering? Email us to organise a visit to the Literacy Programme where you can find out more before signing up.

Why teaching a child to read is about so much more than A,B,C

Literacy programme volunteer, Anneke Jagau, gives us a glimpse into the life of the little boy she’s teaching to read every week. 

The school in Kewtown that I visit every Tuesday for the literacy programme is not very far away but it always feels as though I’m driving into a completely different world. Kewtown is one of the poorest areas in Athlone. Out the window of my car, I see rows of badly maintained houses, grey blocks of flats and deteriorated playgrounds. Even during ‘school hours’, many youngsters of school going age hang around on the streets and at the shops. Names of the different gangs are spray painted on the walls to indicate territory. Sadly, the police have very little presence in this area; the gangs often have the last word.

My heart breaks when I hear the stories of the children. They grow up in a world that exposes them to too much too young. The little seven-year-old boy who I always read with is a cute little chap but he finds it hard to concentrate. He is very restless. In his eyes you can read the pain and the sadness, caused by the things that have happened in his life. Last week, he was wearing a little bracelet which he told me proudly he’d made himself. I asked him how he’d done it and he said, “Oh, very easy, I made it from a condom. They are always behind our flat. They throw them their when they are done. I just washed it and burned the soft plastic. Do you like it?”

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