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READING isn’t just a passion for Belconnen’s Judith Shackley; she believes it’s a fundamental skill to have.
“If you didn’t understand language, it would be so hard,” says Judith.
Since retiring from the public service in 2010, Judith’s been helping children learn how to read through the School Volunteer Program ACT (SVPACT).
She enjoyed reading to her two daughters when they were growing up and says she’s always wanted to help other children learn to read.
“I’ve always had a passion for children learning to read so it seemed like a logical fit for me,” she says.
“It’s really important to read, you even need to read to be able to answer a maths problem.
“If you’ve got to decipher a problem but you can’t read the question, you’re stuffed.”
Judith really enjoys seeing her students improve and says improvement usually comes in leaps and bounds.
She says it’s all about focusing on a book that the children actually enjoy and from there they usually blossom quickly to the point where they can be reading advanced books within a few months.
Operating in about 50 primary schools and high schools with about 130 volunteers SVPACT is always searching for more people to volunteer their time to help.
“We are now seeking to add to our team of volunteers so that we can assist even more students next year,” she says.
“We work within a class situation under the guidance of a teacher.
“Volunteers don’t need to be a specialist in the area they just need life experience and a desire to help. People come from all walks of life.”
SVPACT is calling for volunteers who can help students to create Meccano models, to assist students who are struggling readers or to support children who lack confidence in using numbers and performing calculations.
Volunteer information at svpact.org.au