Rewriting Life Stories through Reading Support Programmes
Say hello to Chloe, a committed volunteer with our C3 GROW programme since 2020. She has taught 2 students, Tara* & Bernice*. Despite not having any prior experience teaching children, Chloe rose up to the challenge and has made a huge impact in the lives of these 2 girls.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the students.
C3: Hi Chloe! What made you want to volunteer with our C3 GROW programme?
Chloe: Apart from school obligations to volunteer, it was important for me that the volunteer opportunity would be meaningful and have a long-term impact on the individual. My interest piqued when I read about C3 GROW and how it levels the playing field in school by equipping children with strong literacy foundations. Children from non-English speaking households tend to be at a disadvantage in an English-speaking society like Singapore. However, I never imagined the severity of the issue before embarking on the GROW programme with C3.
C3: Indeed! So many children who struggle in school just because they weren’t taught to read when they were younger. Did you have any challenges or fears when volunteering with us, given how you didn’t have prior experience teaching children?
Chloe: Not going to lie, it was a challenge at first as I wasn’t familiar with teaching phonics. I’ve only had experience with teaching arts and crafts or being a game facilitator with children. However, the training and comprehensive lesson plans provided by C3 helped allay my fears.
One of the biggest struggles I faced was trying to engage Bernice during her online lessons. I had to constantly think of new ways each session to engage her and ensure her learning. However, that made it even more meaningful when Bernice remembered the grammar rule that I had been teaching her. Such moments reminded me of the impact of the work I’m doing and encouraged me to continue giving my best. Slowly but surely, I was able to see Bernice’s progress.
Conversely, I faced the complete opposite challenge with Tara. As an enthusiastic and keen learner, she was always raring to learn something new. Hence, I had to engage Tara in a different way and what helped was getting to know her as an individual, rather than just as a student. These conversations outside of the lesson material helped build her general knowledge and her oral skills. They also helped maintain Tara’s interest in coming for online class every Saturday morning.
C3: It’s been great seeing your growth as a volunteer and as a teacher too! Thanks to you, Tara is able to read at grade level proficiency and we managed to graduate her from our programme this year! Do you have any concluding words for any interested volunteers?
Chloe: It’s great to see the progress that Tara has made and how she’s able to read with such confidence now! To any interested volunteers who are fearful of stepping up, I say, just try it! If you asked me 1.5 years ago if I had the confidence to teach children how to read, I would say no. However, the consistent support and feedback from C3 has helped improve my teaching abilities, though I am still no pro. As Horace Mann once said, education is the great equaliser of the conditions of men. I hope many volunteers will come forward to help these students grow in their reading abilities and be able to excel with equal opportunities as their peers in school. There is a lasting impact in the smallest of actions!
C3: Thank you, once again, Chloe!
If you are interested to make a difference in the lives of these young children that C3 works with, do contact firstname.lastname@example.org for either volunteering or sponsorship opportunities!