TWO Calista Primary School students have received help with their reading skills by phoning a friend as part of the Smith Family’s student2student program.
Trent (8) and Riley (10) Stieger were matched up with a reading buddy from the Bunbury Catholic College who listened to their reading over the phone.
The boys read to their buddies three days a week for about 20 minutes each time.
Trent said his favourite book was Zac Power.
Riley said he had learnt more words and was reading more clearly and confidently after talking to his buddy on the phone.
His favourite book was Too Cool and both boys also enjoyed reading different books covering a variety of topics.
Smith Family WA general manager Lorna Woodley said the program was developed to improve the reading skills and confidence of children in disadvantaged |communities.
“It allows for regular reading practice in a supportive learning environment,” Ms Woodley said.
“As the student improves, they become more motivated to read, particularly with encouragement from their buddy.”
The boys’ mother, Chelsea Hartshorn, said the program had helped them with their homework and provided a structured reading routine which they had enjoyed.
She said she was proud of how much the boys’ reading had improved over the 18-week program.
Ms Woodley said one in 10 students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 from disadvantaged backgrounds did not meet national minimum reading standards.
“This gap in essential language and literacy skills affects their ability to fully participate in their education,” she said.
Trent and Riley said they were keen to continue next year.