As a candidate in North Island College’s Educational Assistant and Community Support Worker program – as well as a ONE TO ONE volunteer tutor – Amber Nastrom may be better able than most to put herself in the shoes of the students she reads with.
As part of her program requirements, Amber took on a 90-hour practicum with Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society, a partner of ONE TO ONE Literacy Society and the organization that coordinates the ONE TO ONE program on northern Vancouver Island. Part of her practicum included volunteering as a tutor in the ONE TO ONE program. “I was excited when I [learned] I would be tutoring some kids in our local schools. I did this back when I was in high school. It just felt full circle for me. I really loved the idea that our main objective was to get kids excited about reading.”
One goal of Amber’s program – which has an Indigenous focus – is to learn how support kids and community members in their learning. A practicum involving the ONE TO ONE program proved to be an excellent match. Topics covered in the classroom, like how to make learning more inclusive, allowed her to better understand differences in the children she worked with. “I was able to cater to each student’s abilities and interests. When it comes to inclusivity, we have to understand that everyone learns differently and enjoys different things. In my first tutoring session with each kid, I made sure to get to know them. I was amazed at how unique each child is and found myself on the search for the perfect books and games for them.”
In addition to tutoring in the ONE TO ONE program, Amber is a mom to a new reader and attended one of our virtual Come Read with Me workshops in the winter. “I definitely use a lot of the tips and techniques that I’ve learned through ONE TO ONE with my 6-year-old. For example, if it makes sense, you don’t have to correct them.” Whether it is reading at home or reading with her ONE TO ONE students, Amber makes sure to play word games. “When […] working with students and with my own kids, the games are always a hit. Playing literacy games with them is truly a bonding experience and makes learning feel effortless.”
Upon graduating this June, Amber plans to continue her learning by pursuing a bachelor’s degree. “ONE TO ONE is a great program because it allows for students to develop a love for literacy, and I feel grateful that I could be a small part of it.”