Nicholas Wallace of Mackay reading to a buddy on the phone. Photo Peter Holt / Daily Mercury
Nicholas Wallace of Mackay reading to a buddy on the phone. Photo Peter Holt / Daily Mercury Peter Holtpeter Holt

Reading program’s 93% success rate

WHEN literacy rates are low the blame is often shifted to busy parents, sub-standard teaching or disengaged children.

Students in Mackay are changing all that.

The student2student program, endorsed by The Smith Family and Optus, pairs children aged 8-12 with older 'buddies' via telephone, achieving a success rate of more than 90%.

Nicholas Wallace is one of those whose literacy has been enhanced by the program.

"We take turns reading to each other," he said. "I enjoy reading (author) Tom Gates."

The program was helping "heaps", Nicholas said, adding he would like to become a buddy reader when he headed into high school next year.

Program co-ordinator Robyn Geiger said student2student had a profound impact on children's ability to read.

"Parents and teachers identify kids who could use some help," she said. "Because people don't have landlines anymore, Optus sponsored the program."

"Parents often both work, so taking the time to read can be difficult," she said.

The program works anonymously, with buddies and readers spending the time together solely on reading.

The Smith Family's Queensland general manager Alan Le May said the program had outstanding results. .

"A recent study of student2student showed that 93% of participants improved their reading, with two-thirds boosting their reading age by more than six months."



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