Find a link; make a prediction; focus. Are you ready to read now?
This is how my reading sessions with Brayden would start. Brayden was this year’s READ Saskatoon Literacy Grit Award winner; an honour that is given to one student each year that demonstrates perseverance, eagerness, and achievement in their learning goals. I was Brayden’s volunteer reading guide.
When I first met Brayden, it was clear he could benefit from one-to-one reading support. He lacked the confidence and strategies to be able to advance his reading skills and, for Brayden, this meant schoolwork, participation in class, and homework were stressful activities.
I nominated Brayden for this award because of his determination to grow as a learner. From the start, he was a careful listener. He was even better at applying what he learned. By the end of the program he was able to use reading strategies like skip it, sound it, or chunk it when he came across difficult words. He could also track the words on the page using his finger and choose materials that he was interested in and were appropriate for his reading level.
The positive changes in Brayden extended beyond the pages of the books he was reading. For instance, Brayden put in extra reading practice at home and his grandma loved listening to him read. He has a great memory and would often use his reading strategies to self-correct as he read aloud. I saw remarkable improvement in Brayden’s literacy skills by the end of the program. His teacher also noted growth: “Brayden now reads during independent reading time; he used to draw.” Best of all, his confidence was soaring.
It is because of donors like you that READ Saskatoon can provide free and effective one-to-one support to strengthen children's reading skills. Trained volunteers are matched with an elementary school student and meet during the day. Each student receives 30 minutes of instruction twice a week for eight weeks. Currently, this program is being offered virtually with children who are learning from home or school.
Every day, your donations unlock learning opportunities through READ Saskatoon’s literacy programs that strengthen bonds within families. This program reveals children’s potential in Saskatoon. Working with children to increase their literacy skills early in their school years improves long-term educational and occupational outcomes. Strong literacy skills reduce incidences of delinquency, contact with the justice system, and the need for remedial and special education services, while increasing graduation rates and employment prospects.
Brayden is not alone. Last year, READ Saskatoon worked with 2,500 children and adults who reached out to improve their literacy skills, but there are so many more waiting for help. You can ensure people have the skills they need to achieve their learning goals. By becoming a donor and investing in your community, you will ensure there are free services available to people like Brayden.
The Korchinski Family Foundation has generously offered to double donations of $500, triple donations of $750, and quadruple donations of $1,000 or more (up to $30,000) to the READ Saskatoon Light a Spark campaign. The Korchinski family is proud to make a positive impact in our community by supporting organizations that provide personal and professional development in Saskatchewan.
Are you able to remember why Brayden was nominated for the Literacy Grit Award? Could you retell Brayden’s story? What did you like about it? Enclosed is the same bookmark given to all children participating in the reading guide program. Find a child in your life to remind them of the strategies that good readers use.
READ Saskatoon Reading Guide Volunteer
P.S. We also would like to ask a very special favour. Will you please take a moment now to write a personal message of support for a child in the reading guide program? If you have a child in your life that could write this message, even better! Find the enclosed postcard and have a conversation about learning to read, the frustration, the milestones, and the victories. Write an encouraging note that we can share with a child struggling with literacy. It will get tucked inside a book and given to a child in this program.