Volunteers Take on a Wordy Cause
ST John Ambulance has developed a volunteer program to help children across NSW schools – and it is about to start in Liverpool.
Twenty volunteers have been trained and prepared to start the Program to Aid Literacy at Liverpool Public School.
Each volunteer will spend an hour a week with one child, to teach techniques to sound out words and to learn to read and write confidently.
Volunteer Alageswari Perumal found out about the PALs program through word of mouth at her son’s school.
She said the benefits for the children who struggled with their literacy skills were noticeable in their behaviour.
“The children don’t realise that it affects their self-esteem,” Mrs Perumal said.
“They are quiet and reserved when they don’t feel confident in their literacy skills.
“I am happy I can help someone – I tend to learn from the children just as much as they
learn from me.”
St John Ambulance program co-ordinator Marie Hopkins said the program had had a positive effect on school literacy programs. She said it helped children progress quickly and built their self-esteem.
“Other schools will hopefully recognise the benefit of the program so we can then recruit more volunteers,” Mrs Hopkins said. The 2009 NAPLAN results showed NSW literacy rates were at a record high, but the St John Ambulance program targets the children who may not be reaching those standards. The charity organisation hopes to recruit between 50 and 100 volunteers in the Liverpool area. To become part of the PALs program, volunteers need to attend a workshop which teaches them skills to use as effective practical strategies to help the child with their reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The three-day course costs $25.
For more information about vounteering in this program, please call 9601 6825 or email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org