Read to Learn – Supporting Children in the Classroom
In March, the Order of Malta and Australian Catholic University (ACU) Community Hub in Melbourne launched the Read to Learn program in partnership with Preston North East Primary School. Read to Learn aims to support primary school children from culturally and linguistically diverse and refugee backgrounds, who have also been identified as requiring additional support to develop their reading and literacy skills.
Read to Learn began as a pilot project in 2016 and officially launched in early 2017 in partnership with ACU, the City of Yarra, Catholic Education Office and Atherton Gardens. The Order of Malta is proud to partner with ACU to bring this program to more schools across Melbourne.
Read to Learn involves one-on-one tutoring during weekly sessions during school Term. At Preston North East Primary School more than 50% of the parents speak English as a second language with many reportedly struggling to help their children complete reading and homework tasks. The program has been well received with 15 primary school students currently being enrolled and many more students on the waiting list. The group of tutors are made up of members and volunteers of the Order of Malta and ACU students as part of their course requirements.
Although the main program outcomes are to enhance the literacy and numeracy skills of the primary school students, it has become obvious that the program is achieving much more than that.
Jessica D., a Bachelor of Primary and Secondary Education student at ACU, who is volunteering for the project as part of her university-required Community Engagement placement, believes Read to Learn is doing something invaluable with the children both academically and socially.
“The students are receiving crucial one-on-one time with a tutor who is dedicating all their time and effort into helping them to succeed in reading, writing or homework activities,” explains Jessica.
“This type of close engagement is lacking in a classroom where the teacher must balance their attention across a class of up to 30 other students. Students are also benefiting from spending time with people outside of their own social circles. I believe the Read to Learn sessions ultimately have positive impacts, not only on educational outcomes, but also on the children’s social skills, emotional wellbeing, and confidence.”
Overall, the program at Preston North East Primary School has been highly successful. Assistant Principal, John-Mark Gook commented that Read to Learn was “highly valued in the school community” but most telling sign was the smile on the young students’ faces when they are being greeted by their tutor, knowing that they’ll have 45 minutes of quality time together to learn at their own pace, share stories, and have fun.
Volunteer positions are now open for the remainder of 2023. If you are interested in volunteering email email@example.com for more information.
The Order of Malta and ACU Community Hub rely on the generosity of donors to continue serving the Melbourne community. Gifts of $2 and more are tax deductible for Australian taxpayers and can be made using our our secure online donation facility.