Read to Lead celebrates success

Principal Gerda van der Westhuizen hugs Grade 6 pupil Khensan Vinthenga, who excelled in the Take Home reading programme.

Hout Bay residents who help Disa Primary School pupils improve their reading skills were celebrated at a special assembly last week.

The school’s “Read to Lead” programme, which began two years ago, has proved a monumental success, with 30 dedicated volunteers offering their time to Grade 4, 5, 6 and 7 pupils each week.

The Assembly of Gratitude on Monday November 27 was used to pay tribute to these mentors, who took their place on the stage as the children welcomed them with song.

Principal Gerda van der Westhuizen thanked the volunteers for giving their time and expertise, which had helped her pupils “tremendously”.

Read to Lead programme co-ordinator Victoria Burnett explained to the pupils that the volunteers received nothing in return for their efforts, yet their facilitation of reading and comprehension made a great difference at the school.

“Just imagine that you could be a volunteer yourself one day,” she said.

“At Disa, every one of you is part of our Disa reading solar system.”

It was then the turn of the pupils to address their reading mentors directly, the children at the front of the stage turning to their designated volunteer to say thanks.
“You’ve made my heart shine like gold”, “thank you for taking the books from under the stage and making them fly in your hands”, “you have given us the opportunity to shine like stars” and “you inspire us to reach for the stars” were just some of the kind words received by the delighted volunteers.

The audience also heard about Disa’s second reading programme, known as the “Take Home” initiative, which allows pupils to take home books to read at home.

Two pupils received certificates for each reading a total of 40 books this year.

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