Literacy program appeal

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Safety Bay Primary School student Raith Clarke, 9, has made great progress in the program with help from volunteers such as Wendy Sims.
Camera IconSafety Bay Primary School student Raith Clarke, 9, has made great progress in the program with help from volunteers such as Wendy Sims. Credit: Aiden Boyham

Safety Bay Primary School’s Making Up Lost Time in Literacy program — or MultiLit — has helped dozens of students achieve amazing improvements in literacy.

But now the program needs a boost from volunteers in the community to help its students go to the next level.

The MultiLit program was developed at Macquarie University and involves underachieving students spending three or four 40-minute sessions a week working with volunteers to help improve their literacy skills — often with amazing results.

Program co-ordinator Katrina Muirhead said data from last year’s cohort revealed a number of students had made two years’ worth of progress.

“Last year we had seven out of 10 students who had improved by two school years,” she said.

“They were reading at a Year 1 or 2 level and by the end they had caught up to the Year 4 level, which is where they should be at. If done properly, students should be able to catch up 15 months in two school terms.

“Volunteers can make a huge difference from as little as 40 minutes per week.”

Deputy principal Leanne Allen said they were able to roll out the program using a combination of State Government grants and school funding, but now they needed the help of more volunteers to be able to help as many students as possible.

“Literacy underpins everything,” Ms Allen said.

“We need students to be literate so they can progress and be healthy, functioning adults. If kids don’t have those literacy skills … quite often you encounter behavioural problems because they are frustrated.”

For more information on the program or to volunteer, contact 9528 3680.

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