Liam (center), and his younger twin brothers, Harris and Owen, have been participants in the Read With Me program at Calgary Public Library for three years. They work with their volunteers, Brita Wahl, Senthil Gnanasambandam and Ruth Halford, respectively, for an hour each week at a Library branch to develop their literacy skills.
Ruth and Owen have been a pair since November 2009. The boys’ father, Bryan, states, 'Owen loves Ruth. She’s amazing. She makes it fun for him to learn and he always comes back in a good mood after their sessions.’ Owen confirms this: ‘It’s fun working with Ruth and really educating. Sometimes, we do games and hard mazes and stuff like that. When we have to read, she picks books that I like and that are funny.’
Brita and Liam have worked together since September 2010. In Liam’s words, ‘It’s been good…in lots of ways. We do reading and she’ll play games with me. She’s really nice and she helps me with the words and stuff.’ Bryan adds, ‘Brita has a calm, peaceful personality, which is exactly what Liam needs, especially in his learning. She keeps him engaged and focused.’
Senthil and Harris began their match in January 2012. Bryan shared that since starting work with Senthil, Harris now loves reading and does so independently at home daily. Harris confers, ‘Senthil is really good. I really like him a lot. He really helps me a lot. I’ve improved my reading since I started working with him and now I’m figuring-out more hard words. He’s really nice and lets me pick books I like.’
All three volunteers feel the boys are benefiting from their help in the program and enjoy their sessions together. Brita says she loves working with Liam and ‘It’s been fun getting to learn something new each session…I’ve learned a lot about sharks, scorpions and Star Wars’.
Bryan is unequivocal about the help provided to his children by the volunteers: ‘We are so happy and amazed by the program and so appreciative of all the folks who volunteer.’
Thank you, Ruth, Brita, and Senthil for all your efforts and sharing your love of literacy with these children!