Learning to read is hard. Turning a jumble of letters into sounds, those sounds into words, and those words into meaningful phrases takes work.
For many kids, this happens in the classroom, side-by-side with their peers and educators, and at home sounding out one word at a time snuggled up to a caregiver.
But for some children—kids like Pooja—the years of the pandemic robbed them these opportunities and have left them behind.
When Pooja immigrated to Canada from India with her family, she was six years old.
Her parents hoped Pooja would enter Kindergarten when they arrived, and they explained to her what fun her Kindergarten classroom would be. There would be new toys and books to explore, lots of games and many new friends to meet.
With Malayalam as her first language, Pooja wasn’t fluent in English yet, but she knew some words and letters. She was so excited.
Within a week of arriving in Canada schools were closed due to COVID-19. Her Kindergarten year was a wash and as the pandemic dragged on, her whole Grade One year was online.
Pooja’s mother, Purnima, worked hard to support Pooja through all the adjustments that come with moving to a new country and learning a new language.
“We tried our best to help her to know what to expect and learn how to fit in. But she didn’t have much chance to interact with other students or to practice her English.”
Pooja’s teacher suggested enrolling her in ONE TO ONE Literacy’s Tutoring program, to give her more practice reading, listening and learning English.
Pooja started ONE TO ONE tutoring virtually in Grade One. She took to it right away.
“My tutor was super nice,” Pooja remembers. “She always encouraged me, saying things like “Tada!” when I did a good job. She always told me to keep up the good work.”
When Pooja started Grade Two in the classroom last year, she kept up her virtual ONE TO ONE tutoring after school.
“I could see how much Pooja enjoyed reading with her tutor. She learned new words and how to use them,” explains her mom. “Before, she was really struggling to make friends because she was new and had an accent and now I see that she is more confident and better at meeting new people. Knowing the language better has helped her get the confidence to make friends.”
Learning to read is foundational to all parts of life. For a child it builds social confidence, opens new worlds of knowledge, and provides them with a sense of self-worth and confidence.
This holiday season, your donation will go directly towards supporting tutors like Pooja’s access the resources and training they need to teach even more kids how to read.
There’s never been a more critical time for us to support early readers. With so much time lost over the past few years, we need to double down on our commitments to helping young children like Pooja get up to speed with their reading.
Will you help more children like Pooja learn to read with a donation today?