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Active Learning

by Christine P - 2 Comment(s)

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.

Positively Inspiring

by Christine P - 1 Comment(s)

A positive, friendly and caring individual, Jennifer Kot has been a volunteer with the TD Read With Me program at Calgary Public Library since 2006. In the TD Read With Me program, volunteers mentor children one-on-one to help develop their literacy skills and interest in reading. Jennifer has been working with her current buddy, Terence, since September 2009. She states, ‘It’s a really rewarding way to spend an hour each week. Every week, I see him make small improvements but his overall progress across the past few years is astounding. He’s worked really hard and it’s been fun’.

Terence will graduate from the program at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. ‘Jen’s a good tutor and she’s helping me read better’, he states. ‘She’s patient and doesn’t get upset easily’.

Terence’s mom, Cindy, also shared her impressions:

‘Jen has been an excellent mentor and taught Terence that reading can be fun. She introduced him to different types of reading materials and games to help engage his interest. She is very patient with him and kind. Terence has a wonderful sense of humour and Jen has really tapped into that. Her help has been a huge boost for his self-esteem. I believe that because of her influence, Terence will be a life-long reader. The program is a great idea and I’d like to encourage more people to volunteer for it because it makes a huge difference and changes kids’ lives.’

Thank you, Jennifer, for all your hard work and amazing dedication and contributions to the TD Read With Me program!

Speed Reader

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

An empathetic, friendly and caring individual, Jane Baker has been a TD Read With Me volunteer since 2007. In the TD Read With Me program, volunteers mentor children one-on-one to help develop their literacy skills and interest in reading. Jane donates her valuable time, skills and enthusiasm to the program because, ‘I have a passion for literacy and I can’t imagine my life without it. Seeing that [similar passion for literacy] ‘click’ for a child is magical and gives me goose-bumps’.

Jane has been working with her current buddy, Maryam, since October 2009. Maryam will graduate from the program this spring. ‘I improved lots from working with Jane’, she states. ‘I read out loud better, I read faster and now I can finish a [chapter] book in less than a week. I know how to communicate and my spelling, which was really bad before, is better now. Jane is calm and she’s really nice to me’.

Fathia, Maryam’s mom, had the following further comments: ‘The work Jane has done is amazing. She’s really helped Maryam a lot. Maryam is into books now and she can help herself and help others. She reads for two hours straight every day, whereas she used to hate books before. Jane is patient, reliable and wonderful and I’m so glad that Maryam was matched with her in the program’.

Thank you, Jane, for all the amazing contributions you have made to the TD Read With Me program and to the lives of your little buddies and their families over the past four years!

Kung Fu Reading!

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Meet Paul, TD Read with Me Volunteer

Paul Jassar enjoys working with kids and, according to my pre-teen source, the feeling is mutual. The tall basketball player is easy-going and calm with a good sense of humour. Currently enrolled in the final year of his elementary education degree, Paul volunteers because 'it’s a chance to feel a sense of community and help out those who are a part of it. Volunteering also allows me to network and meet new people and that is important to me’.

Paul began working with Tony, his little buddy in the TD Read With Me program in January 2009. Tony, a cheerful and energetic boy, hasn’t always been the most enthusiastic of readers and had a short attention span for the process when they first began working together.

Tony is a big martial arts fan, so in some sessions when Paul noticed Tony’s focus was starting to wane after they’d read for a while, they would go into the library stacks to find books on martial arts, read about some of the stances or moves and then quietly practice them together. Over time, Tony’s attention span and appreciation for reading have developed and today, he regards himself as a ‘reader’.

Tony had the following comments about Paul in October 2010:

‘I think he’s a really positive person. He’s a good person to work with and a fun person to play with…a good partner. We don’t always read together right away; sometimes we play games or go on the computer. He discusses about something and tries to cheer me up.

He’s helped me a lot. Now I can actually read chapter books and I’ve improved so much. He helped me break the letters up’.

According to Lieu, Tony’s mom, ‘Paul is really trustworthy, a good teacher and person’.

Paul and Tony plan to continue working together for at least the rest of the 2010-2011 school year. While Tony will ‘graduate’ from the TD Read With Me program sometime next year, the legacy and benefits of the fun and learning he’s shared with Paul through the program will last a lifetime.

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