In a bid to encourage a new generation of book worms, a local charity is doubling its reading program for local primary school students.
Following the success of the literacy scheme in four schools, Every Child Our Future (ECOF) is now including another four: D’Auvergne, Plat Douet, St Luke’s and St Saviour’s schools.
ECOF runs a scheme to help primary age children improve their literacy skills, and has worked with the Education Department to train community volunteers who read with five to seven-year-olds in school.
Pictured: The ECOF scheme (above) say that the vast majority of children they support exceed national progress targets.
At the start of this academic year, ECOF was launched in Janvrin, Samares, Springfield and Grands Vaux schools. After one successful term the scheme has been extended and is operating at d’Auvergne, Plat Douet, St Luke’s and St Saviour’s schools as well.
The charity is also funding specialist teachers and teaching assistants to work with children individually.
Nick Kershaw, co-founder of Every Child Our Future in Jersey, said: “Our analysis of the first term shows a significant positive impact on the 380 children we have been working with. In reading and writing they are catching up and moving ahead. The vast majority have exceeded the average rate of progress and some have surpassed it by four or five times, enhancing their chances of success in education and in their lives ahead.”
VIDEO: One volunteer from TMF helping a Janvrin Student practice their reading skills.
Currently, the programme has 270 volunteers. Vanessa Clouting, from TMF group, began volunteering at Janvrin in the new year after receiving training for the programme in December.
Ms Clouting said: “From what I’ve encountered over the last two months, their standard of reading is really really good so it’s quite positive and it’s nice to see and that they recognize us when we come in.”
Whilst Ms Clouting had no previous experience working with children she said she would ‘absolutely’ encourage people to get involved with the programme. She enjoys watching the progression of the children she sees each fortnight and said: “It’s really good to be giving something back to the community.”
“We always see the same children which is good because you can build a rapport with them and get to know them a bit better.”
Pictured: 190 of the 270 volunteers for the scheme (above) are from the corporate sector.
A term and a half into using the ECOF programme, Iain George, Head Teacher of Janvrin School, is pleased with how the reading scheme is working for his students.
Regarding the children’s engagement with the programme, Mr George said: “It’s been really really good. Their responses are enthusiastic, they are keen to read, it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
“Volunteers can see children improving and that gives them a sense of pride. Parents are seeing their children engage with books and feeling good about literacy where they might not have before. Best of all, our students are excited about taking part. They know they are making progress and want to keep going. That is invaluable.”
VIDEO: 380 children are being supported by reading volunteers, ECOF funded teaching assistants and ECOF specialist Reading Recovery teachers.
Chief Education Officer, Justin Donovan said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the progress children participating in the scheme were making.
Mr Donovan said: “We’ve run with 4 schools so far, we are now expanding to 8 and the data tells that the kids are moving forward at a remarkable place.”
“We knew it was going to be successful but we weren’t quite sure it was going to be as successful as it is so we are delighted.”
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