Navjot Virk exudes warmth, friendliness and intelligence. She and Piyush have been reading partners in the TD Read With Me program for the past two and a half years. They’ve met once a week for an hour over that period at a Calgary Public Library branch to read and enjoy literacy together. Piyush graduated from the program in June 2012, following the completion of his Gr. 6 school year.
According to Shalini, Piyush’s mom, his graduation comes a few years too soon. ‘I would have liked it if he could have stayed in the program through his junior high years. Navjot has really helped him, not only with his reading, but also with personal growth. He sees her as a role model and a ‘big sister’. Their personalities matched very well. You can’t just give him a book and sit and read straight for an hour. Navjot recognized that and made program sessions interactive for him, playing board games and doing different activities with him, and kept him engaged.’
Piyush agrees, stating that working with Navjot over the years has been ‘really good.’ He has improved his reading skills a lot. He elaborates that Navjot ‘helps you with your homework, if you have some. [Our program sessions] were interesting. It was never the same thing…[the activities were] always mixed-up…so it wasn’t just reading all the time but we played games together too. It was fun.’
Navjot concurs. ‘Piyush is awesome and I think I learn more from him than he does from me. The coolest thing has been seeing his self-confidence increase. We’ve been paired together for so long that we’ve really developed a relationship and it’s been neat to see him make progress through the years’.
Shalini has no doubt that the next child paired with Navjot in the program will see similar benefits from her support. The staff at Calgary Public Library could not agree more.
Thank you, Navjot! And best of luck in Junior High in the fall, Piyush!
If you want to learn more about the TD Read With Me program, click here.