Interview with Niamh Scanlon, 2nd Class teacher in St Finian’s, which is partnered with Irish Life:
How do you feel the programme has benefited your students?
“The interest and excitement around reading is almost infectious. They now love going to the school library and choose their reading material with much thought and deliberation. They share books and discuss pictures/events in pairs/groups without prompting. The children overall have developed great confidence with their reading. Writing and narrative writing in particular have improved greatly. The children love that their parents, teacher and volunteer have all met together and spoken with each other. It gives the child a great sense of self- worth and importance.”
Have any of your students been particularly impacted by the programme? If so, could you please describe how?
“One child had really struggled with reading all the way through school. The child had always been behind in his class readers and had a very negative attitude towards reading. He now loves reading, and even more than that he loves to write. He is extremely confident and it is wonderful to see a child who struggled for so long wanting to write and read in class.”
What do you enjoy about the programme as a teacher?
“I love that all children in my class are now being catered to. I am aware that in a class of 27 many children can simply slip through the net and not get the attention they should. Time to Read makes sure that these children are given a chance. I love that the children are getting to discuss and talk about books in a 1 to 1 setting with their volunteer. It is hard to hear and give every child a chance to talk in a big class. They always greet the children in such a lovely way and always have a smile on their faces. This means a huge amount to the children and it is no surprise as to why they love going out for their reading sessions so much.”
What would your hopes for the future of the programme be?
“I would hope that this programme continues in Dublin. It would be fantastic to bring even more volunteers into work with children. Second class is an ideal age for the programme to be aimed at! It would be great to do a follow up with the Time to Read children maybe in 5th class to see if the progress has continued. As a teacher the only negative about the programme is that there aren’t more volunteers to go round!!!”