Smith Family reading program finds success in the Port

TEXT TALK: Claire Harris, 10, at her home in Raymond Terrace, is part of a new phone reading program. Picture: Stephen Wark
TEXT TALK: Claire Harris, 10, at her home in Raymond Terrace, is part of a new phone reading program. Picture: Stephen Wark

IMPROVED motivation and literacy skills are two benefits of The Smith Family's student2student reading program in Raymond Terrace.

Children in years three to eight, including 10-year-old Claire Harris from Grahamstown Public, are linked up with reading buddies over the phone.

Optus provide mobiles to students who don't have access to a landline.

The buddies are trained to improve literacy skills and students read aloud to their buddy at least twice a week for 18 weeks.

"The secret of student2student's success is that it addresses the two crucial factors in becoming a better reader; practice and motivation," The Smith Family's NSW general manager Steve Macready said.

"The more you read, the more you enjoy it and the more likely you are to keep reading."

With a more than 90 per cent success rate it is no wonder the program has worked for Claire, who now loves to read both on and off the phone.

"She was having trouble putting words together but the program helped her to break through that barrier," Claire's mother Michelle Overall said.

The program is anonymous, but Claire and her buddy are so comfortable with each other they send Christmas presents.

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