Monday 2nd July 2012
Breda O’ Sullivan, Time to Read Coordinator, and all the SBP team are finalising the details of the 17 or 18 companies and schools who will start Time to Read in September – it’s an exciting time with our team all being trained up on the details and information.
Funded by the Bord Gáis Foundation, the Time to Read programme was piloted in six primary schools across Ireland in 2010/2011. A reading enhancement programme engaging corporate volunteers to help first and second class children discover a love of reading, it was evaluated by literacy expert, Dr. Eithne Kennedy, Drumcondra Education Centre. While final evaluation results are pending, the following broad outcomes were reported:
• Children who took part in the pilot were overwhelmingly positive about their experience; they loved to read and learn new words, they enjoyed reading books they had not seen before and valued learning new things.
• The parents of participating children were very positive and felt their children were the “lucky ones” suggesting that every child should be given the opportunity to participate.
• Teachers and principals were extremely positive advising that the programme promoted a culture and love of reading which supported the literacy agenda in the wider school community, built on children’s’ confidence and offered 1-1 attention which the teacher cannot always provide. They felt that Time to Read had raised awareness amongst parents of the need to read with and listen to their child reading. All schools involved were keen to participate again if given the opportunity.
• Volunteers enjoyed the experience immensely and gained personally from their involvement in the Time to Read programme. Benefits cited included: greater job satisfaction, sense of well-being, sense of pride and increased company loyalty, a stronger connection to their local community, sense of appreciation of their own privileges in life and better understanding of the day-to-day struggles in disadvantaged communities.
With on-going support from the Bord Gáis Foundation, Time to Read is currently being rolled out on a national basis and will operate in eighteen primary schools across Ireland from September 2012.
The enthusiastic response from schools is hardly surprising, given the myriad of benefits associated with providing one-to-one attention, on a regular basis, to a young student who may be reluctant to read. For volunteer readers and companies, having the chance to spend a little time to help students explore the magical world beneath the covers of a good book, is something quite special!
We would like to thank all of the wonderful companies, volunteers, schools, parents and most importantly, the young readers for bringing us to this next exciting phase of the Time to Read programme.