Marie, slightly out of breath from her trip down to the beach, runs through the front door of her new home, putting down her book bag and rushing to her laptop. As she waits, her hands eagerly brush across the many stickers plastered along its cover, as her mother, Pascale, finds a Zoom link in her inbox. They quickly connect to the room where their virtual tutor, Susan, is waiting with a smile.

When the family was preparing to move, Pascale found out about ONE TO ONE’s virtual program through Marie’s school librarian. Moving to a new city during a pandemic, they knew that there would be limited opportunities to meet new people, and virtual literacy tutoring seemed to be a good way for Marie to not only develop her reading skills, but connect with a trusted adult and gain confidence.

“I was a little hesitant when entering the program – a virtual experience would not have been my first choice. Marie had used Zoom a little for her classes, but she didn’t seem to be engaging that well online. I didn’t know if she would be the right fit for virtual tutoring,” Pascale explains. “Also, since the sessions were happening in my home, I also wondered who the tutors were.”

Her hesitancy was quickly dispelled, even before the first session. A quick call with the programs staff explained the safety measures, screening process and training involved in choosing tutors. Pascale was impressed by care shown through the background checks and selection process. This same level of caring came through clearly when meeting Marie’s volunteer literacy tutor, Susan, for the first time. Pascale immediately felt at ease and already saw Marie starting to enjoy her time spent reading.

“Marie rarely reads out loud with me, but I noticed that she reads so well with Susan, using such emotion and emphasis in her words. Over 8 weeks, they built a bond and Marie really found it so fun. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be so eager to stop playing and exploring outside in the springtime to come inside and read.”

Pascale also attended Come Read with Me, a ONE TO ONE facilitated workshop designed for parents. After seeing Marie read with Susan, Pascale wanted to learn more about what she could do to support her daughter’s literacy learning. Through the workshop, she learnt valuable lessons to encourage Marie to read more throughout the summer, including tips such as when to correct reading errors.

As the holiday season approaches, ONE TO ONE is looking to raise $50,000 in our winter campaign – Bringing Reading Home – a nod to the learning that is happening inside of students’ homes, made possible by virtual literacy programs.

ONE TO ONE’s programs are free of cost to parents and schools and we rely on our community to help us raise funds to support young readers. Donate and join us to learn more about virtual literacy tutoring, and discover how it is changing the way we are helping students develop literacy skills and confidence.

To join in the movement of #GivingTuesday, from November 30 until December 7, the impact of your gift will also be tripled, thanks to the generosity of our matching donors – The Collings Stevens Family Foundation and The Francis Family Foundation. That means that each donation, up to the first $20,000,  will have triple the impact and help three times the number of children.


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