BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

Thank you from the Smith Family

27 Aug 2021 1:14 PM | Anonymous

At our presentation dinner earlier this year, we had a raffle with the prizes being paid for by money provided from BMW Australia under BMW’s BMW Club and Community Management Support Program.  The funds raised from raffling such items have to be donated to charity.  The committee decided to send off the proceeds of the raffle as a donation of $535 to The Smith Family.  We received a thank you letter from The Smith Family and information that our donation was being used for the Student 2 Student Literacy Program.

Children cannot choose their circumstances.

For one in six Australian children and young people growing up in poverty can limit their choices, opportunities and outcomes in life.

Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child delivers long-term positive benefits for them, their family and potentially generations to come.

As Australia’s largest national education-oriented charity, The Smith Family support disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. The learning support and mentoring programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves.

Disadvantaged children often miss out on developing the building blocks of early learning. Children who are read to more frequently at an early age enter school with larger vocabularies and more advanced comprehension skills (Mol & Bus, 2011). Yet without books to stimulate learning in the home, or encouragement from a parent who is aware of its importance, disadvantaged children often don’t have the same shared reading time with their parents or carers as their more advantaged peers.

{The Growing Up in Australia study has found that up to 35% of lower social-economic households have less than 30 books, 10 % less than 10, for children to read and up to 20% of these children were not read to by their parents in the week preceding interview. 93 % of higher socio-economic households have over 30 books}

Alarmingly, disadvantaged children are already well behind their peers by age four, and by age six, many are around seven times more likely than other children to be doing badly at school. Providing early learning resources and support in the home is vital for a child’s future potential. The reading gap in primary school between the lowest socio-economic students (SES) and the highest SES is equivalent to almost 3 yrs of schooling.

The literacy foundations built by children during their primary and early secondary years are crucial to their ability to do well at school. Research identifies a clear link between the development of cognitive skills such as literacy and numeracy at an early age and higher levels of education achievement, greater employability, higher earnings and greater social participation.

The Smith Family Student2Student program

Our student2student program works by matching students who need to improve their reading with peer buddies who help and encourage them with their reading. Peer support is central to the program’s success. Evidence indicates that one of the best ways to support students who have reading difficulties is for the help to come from others near their own age.

student2student involves three groups of participants:

  • Students in Years 3 to 8 assessed as being up to two years behind in their reading development and want additional support to improve their reading.
  • Reading buddies with good literacy skills who are at least two years older than the student. The buddies are trained by The Smith Family to help their students develop reading confidence and skills, using the ‘Pause, Prompt, Praise’ reading support method. 
  • Volunteer Supervisors who provide support for up to 10 reading buddies, helping them with problems and ensuring that they are supporting the students effectively.

Each student and buddy receives an identical book pack from The Smith Family. The reading buddy then telephones the student two to three times a week for at least 20 minutes, over an 18 week period. The student reads to the buddy, who uses the skills learnt in their training to assist the student with their reading and offer encouragement and praise. The buddy keeps a simple record of each phone call and reports progress to a Volunteer Supervisor fortnightly. Student2student operates nationally via landlines, mobile phones and digital.

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