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Reading program benefits young readers and tutors

Reading aloud to children is key to their success in school. Thanks to a unique partnership with Mount Royal University’s Department of Education, which integrates Calgary Reads’ programs directly into its curriculum, student teachers have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with children, supporting early intervention with struggling readers.

“This is a powerful learning experience for both the student teachers and the kids they tutor,” says Jodi Nickel, Chair of the Department of Education. “The student teachers learn that literacy is so important for the kids but also for outcomes in society.”

“This is a powerful learning experience for both the student teachers and the kids they tutor.”

Jodi Nickel, Chair of the Department of Education, Mount Royal University

One volunteer noted that the reading relationship helped increase her student’s confidence “because when she reads alone, there is no one to celebrate that success with her in the moment.” Another volunteer thought motivation was a factor, when the student realized “improving his reading isn’t just something that he needs for school.” Another student teacher said, “I have learned that I am definitely passionate about wanting them to learn to read.”

This year, approximately 90 student teachers will help about 180 children in participating schools through a partnership that is truly collaborative and a win-win outcome. For Calgary Reads, it means reading programs such as wee read and Read with ELLs can be brought into classrooms. It also provides us with volunteers, who are essential to help us achieve our mission.

Jodi Nickel says the MRU student teachers benefit through valuable volunteer experiences that provide practical application of language and literacy development. “Explicit connections are made between the course concepts and their experience within the community. They learn they have the power to do this.”

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