Parents learn to help children with reading

Parents holding their certificates after completing a seven-week Wordworks course. At the back from left are, Janita Wichman, Liana Tillings, Louise Wichman and Crystalline Jones. In the middle are Shaney Delport, Joslyn Isaacs, Anadia du Plooy, Moira September, Sanet Strauss, Natalie Southgate, Jacky Opperman, Rhuwayda Petersen, Lanthea Pockpas and Charmaine van Wyk and in front from left are, Anthea Elliott, Charmaine Louis, Dominique Richter, Crazlin Moeroedoe, Lee-Anne Cloete, Sheila Erickson and Edith Vermeulen.

Sentinel Primary and the Hangberg Pre-Primary schools have taken reading to a new level for Grade R and Grade 1 pupils with the Wordworks early literacy programme (ELP).

Sentinel Primary School has hosted the home-school partnership programme for the past six years and programme facilitator and Grade R teacher Anthea Elliot says the results are unbelievable and will help parents get involved with their children’s education.

The Wordworks ELP trains volunteers to provide targeted support to children in Grades R and Grade 1 who are at risk of falling behind with their reading and writing. It also offers a seven-week intervention programme for parents to help with informal learning and reading at home.

Hangberg Education Trust (HET) executive member and Wordworks facilitator, Tania Gray, said the idea of the programme was to create a love for books and reading.

There are 120 Grade R pupils between the two schools, and Ms Gray said volunteers working with the children were trained in ELP methodology and men-tored throughout the programme. Schools were also supplied with the necessary resources, including books.

The Wordworks programme runs on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8.30am to 10am.

Volunteers work with two children at a time for half an hour. Activities include reading, writing something based on what has been read and playing word and sound games.

“The volunteers make reading fun and books exciting and so creating a need with the children to consume information,” Ms Gray said.

An assessment of the children’s progress is done twice a year so teachers can gauge progress and focus on problem areas.

“The programme makes a huge difference in the children’s lives and helps them to cope better once they are in primary school,” said Ms Gray.

Ms Elliot said it was great to see how excited the parents are who participate. They learn how to help their children to read by making reading cards and word games among other things.

“Parents are not only empowered to help their children reach their full learning potential, but themselves as well,” she said.

At the end of the programme, participants receive a certificate.

Ms Elliot said the best part of the programme was that many parents realised their potential and many felt they needed to help serve their community further and signed up for the Wordworks volunteer programme.

“There are currently eight women volunteering their time to help learners in Grade R. One of the women is furthering her studies in early childhood development (ECD) and has opened her own aftercare, employing two of the participants and implementing all the knowledge acquired from both the Wordworks home-school partnership and volunteers programmes,” she said.