New reading program turns children into wordsmiths

MORE children can enjoy the wonderful world of literature thanks to a successful new program. 

The Smith Family’s student2student program is designed to improve the reading skills of children in years 3 to 8 who have a reading age up to two years behind their actual age.

The program matches 8-12 year olds, with reading buddies at least two years older, who are trained to improve literacy skills in their peers. 

Students and buddies who don’t have access to a landline are provided with Optus mobile phones to read aloud to each other at least twice a week for 18 weeks.

The Smith Family’s NSW general manager, Steve Macready said 93 per cent of participants who took part in student2student improved their reading, with two-thirds boosting their reading age by more than six months.

“Reading skills are crucial to a child’s capacity to engage in education and learning, and yet, across Australia, we know many children and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, aren’t meeting national minimum standards.”

“Getting lost in a book shouldn’t be a privilege or a chore. It should be an activity all Australian children can enjoy,” Mr Macready said.

STORY TIME: Year 5 Nowra Christian School student Jaysinta Smith gets ready to read to her student2student buddy.

STORY TIME: Year 5 Nowra Christian School student Jaysinta Smith gets ready to read to her student2student buddy.

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