ONLINE READING BUDDIES
It has often been said, but is worth reinforcing, that during what is a challenging time, there have been so many positive activities that have sprung from acts of kindness and consideration for others. Our community has rallied together in many ways, offering support and encouragement for one another.
Sallyanne Hartnell, mother of Eva (Year 12) and Elliott (Year 9), suggested an online Buddy/Mentor Reading program that would not only further support the development of reading in our youngest learners, but provide connection between many of our students.
During the school holidays, volunteers were sought from our Year 9-12s (potential Mentors) and our Prep-Year 2s (potential Buddies). Even though it was a time of holiday, a trickle of enthusiasm soon became a steady flow. Initially, thirty ‘pairs’ were arranged. There were certainly a number of initial challenges; The Mentors had to make contact with parents to introduce themselves and arrange an initial ‘introduction’ to and with their buddy; students don’t have access to arrange meetings with one another and our youngest learners often need support to access and use their IT programs, therefore initial meeting times needed to be arranged with the assistance of our wonderful IT team; the sharing of books could prove challenging online.
To the absolute credit of our Mentors, and the families of our Buddies, all of these challenges were met with perseverance and a ‘can do’ approach. Within a week, nearly all Mentors and Buddies were reading online three times a week, and not just sharing books, but sharing the fun and excitement of establishing new friendships.
As we head into Week 3 of term two, there are now more than 50 pairs of Reading Mentors and Buddies, who independently organise to share reading three times a week.’
One of pour Prep mums sent the following feedback:
“I have a little Preppy and every night at dinner we share around the table what the best part of our day was. Our daughter, first day back at online school with her teacher and friends which she loves to bits, her response was “reading with Darcee”. …..
I give my most heartfelt thanks to the mentors and Buddies, and their families, who have displayed such positivity and kindness to initiate and continue with their Buddy Reading program. At a later stage, we will publicly acknowledge and thank all of those involved in such a meaningful program.
ONLINE LEARNING REFLECTION
Matilda Jackson Smith, 5A , shares her Huff ‘n’ Puff session that she completes each morning.