The Richmond Danville and Drummondville Community Learning Centre (CLC) is on the lookout for reading buddies. Specifically, they are recruiting anyone who might be free to read to local kindergarteners online on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons or evenings in the near future.
According to Siu-Min Jim, Community Development Agent with the CLC, the program will follow a similar model to the French “Lire et faire lire,” program that is active in a number of different areas across the province once it gets moving. Unlike that program, however, this English-language approach is not limiting its volunteers to helpers who are over the age of 50, but instead leaving the door open to anyone who would like to and has time to help out.
“We’re adapting what we’re used to doing for an online context,” Jim said, noting that the CLC is not new to early literacy or intergenerational programs, even if this particular initiative is being set up for the first time.
The basic idea is that volunteers will be matched one-to-one with a local kindergartener and their family for a reading time that could take place on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon or evening. Decisions about the precise timing of the reading sessions will depend on the availabilities of the readers and the children being read to.
Limited by the pandemic to online options, the community development agent said that the reading sessions will take place over the videoconferencing platform Zoom. She made a point of noting that training will be available to anyone unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the platform and added that the exchanges between volunteers and child participants will be managed by a coordinator.
The organizers are working to build a base of volunteers before opening the program up for children to participate. Looking ahead to that stage, however, Jim said that there is a particular hope that the project will help local francophone families with children in kindergarten get extra support in learning English.
Anyone looking to get involved as a volunteer can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Geneviève Manseau at 819-437-4126.
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