#MyReadingHelper – Meet Trudy & Hope
17 January, 2018
When a hand injury left Trudy Willoughby unable to continue her career as a Physiotherapist, she looked for ways that she could make a meaningful impact through volunteering. “I came across a help2read advert for volunteers in Child’s Magazine”, she said. “I applied and this is where my journey with help2read started.”
After attending Volunteer Training with the help2read team, Trudy began volunteering as a Reading Helper at Rosmead Central Primary School. Since she started in August 2016, Trudy has helped four children learn to read, including Hope, a Grade 3 learner at Rosmead Central Primary.
“Hope and I met at our first help2read session on 17 February 2017”, said Trudy. “Her reading ability at that stage was fair, and although she seemed eager to learn, she struggled with identifying fairly simple words. While reading, she would often blend one sentence into another, with little regard for punctuation, and was unfamiliar with the pronunciation and meanings of more challenging words.”
Despite her struggles, Trudy was confident that through regular reading sessions, Hope’s reading would improve over the course of the year.
“Following our initial session, I tried to bring about some fun and creativity in our sessions”, said Trudy. She used key knowledge that she had learnt at help2read Volunteer Training to effectively support Hope in areas where she struggled.
Trudy explained, “The help2read training was a solid structure for me. It has helped me to identify certain difficulties when working with my learner and equipped me with the appropriate activities and games to help her overcome these difficulties, such as pronunciation.”
Through the one-on-one sessions, Trudy and Hope soon developed a wonderful relationship that paved the way for deeper learning. “Hope was enthusiastic at every session and soon felt comfortable enough in my presence to ask questions…What does this mean?…How does that happen?…Please can we read this book next?…Is this true? etc, showing a real interest in learning”, said Trudy.
Having a consistent and caring Reading Helper made a huge impact on Hope. “I feel special to come and read for Trudy”, said Hope. “She makes me feel happy and makes me smile. She is gentle and speaks nicely to me. I like Trudy very much.”
Hope’s weekly reading sessions with Trudy changed Hope’s attitude towards reading. “I did not like to read before Trudy taught me how to read. Now I love to read because it teaches me new things and I can understand the stories that Trudy teaches me to read”, Hope explained.
After months of reading sessions, Hope’s effort and Trudy’s dedication paid off. “Hope now reads much more fluently, no longer blending sentences – she is aware of punctuation and adheres to it!” explained Trudy. “Her tone is confident and animated, and audible enough to hear well. She is no longer afraid to try and identify challenging words and her general knowledge has improved greatly.”
Volunteering as a Reading Helper truly gives one an incredible opportunity to impact a life for the best. Although she’s only nine years old, Hope recognises just how crucial it is that she learns to read. “Reading is important because when you are grown up, it will help you get a job (in my case, as a pilot)”, said Inga.
While giving the gift of reading, Trudy too has benefited. “I get personal joy by shaping the life of Hope – by guiding her, as her parents work long hours and cannot give her the extra time to help her with her school work, especially reading”, expressed Trudy.
Like Trudy, you too can make an impact on a child’s life by giving the gift of reading. Sign up to volunteer as a Reading Helper. Apply online via our website – https://help2read.org/volunteer-with-us
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