New literacy program brought students, volunteers together at North TrailReading comes easily to some kids. For others, not so much. At North Trail Elementary School, volunteers have done wonders to help the latter become the former.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Reading comes easily to some kids. For others, not so much. At North Trail Elementary School, volunteers have done wonders to help the latter become the former.
This year, NTES broke out a new reading program called Literacy LEAPS - Literacy Enriched Activities with Parents/Volunteers - and it seems to have helped quite a few struggling students. It’s also brought a little personal joy and satisfaction to the volunteers.
Teacher Kim Bollesen set up the program this year. It was a pretty simple concept: bring volunteers into the kindergarten and first grade classrooms to reading books and work with students on letters and sounds. There was a 30-minute training session to attend, but the schedule was very flexible, so volunteers could come and go.
A total of 13 volunteers helped out over the year. Some were moms, some grandmothers. But all of them had a goal in mind - to give help to the students who needed it.
The volunteers worked with students in 15-minute intervals. The skills and comprehension ranged from child to child, so volunteers were challenged as they worked with each one. Some kids were reluctant to participate at first.
Each volunteer had a set of kids to work with, so the students were working with the same person on a week-to-week basis. As the students started to get more comfortable with their tutors, they also became more comfortable with their reading abilities.
The experience was rewarding for many of the volunteers. Betty Arnold said she signed up for Literacy LEAPS because her grandson is a student at North Trail. She’s been retired for a number of years, but in volunteering, she’s able to help students and use the teaching degree she got years ago.
“I can’t stand not doing something,” Arnold said. “I’d like to say I helped.”
Student improvement was gauged through school assessments, Bollesen said, but more important, it was evident in their classroom performance.