At the beginning of the year, as part of our drive for corporate social responsibility, Haggie Partners chose to support The Children’s Literacy Charity.
The charity creates and maintains literacy labs at numerous primary schools across London. These educational hubs become a place where literacy experts can deliver high-quality and impactful literary interventions to children through one-to-one tutoring sessions. For the children who participate, English is usually their second language, while others might not have the right support system at home to keep on top of their reading.
On Thursday, October 11th, my colleague Jo Bernhard and I were given the opportunity to go and visit one of The Children’s Literacy Charity’s labs at Heathbrook Primary School.
During our visit, we met the senior literacy tutor and her colleagues. They explained how the programme worked and how children were selected to participate. The classroom-turned-literacy-lab was the perfect size for one-to-one tutoring and was filled with artwork, games and reading exercises. Each child was given 45 minutes to work on a combination of exercises and, at the end of the session, they were rewarded for their hard work by playing a game or reading a book. Jo and I were able to observe a session and then joined in at the end by reading a book to the children.
My session was spent working with a Portuguese student who speaks English as her second language. During the session we worked on the sound ‘or’, like in the word ‘fort’, along with reviewing other sounds she had learned in previous sessions. Her tutor told me she was relatively new to the programme, but that she was catching up to the other students rather quickly. At the end of the session I was able to read the little girl a book and I taught her how to write my name.
Jo spent her session working with a little boy who also speaks English as a second language.
“It was great fun to watch him learn and to hear about his progression over the course of the term so far,” said Jo. “The theme of the lesson was the sound ‘air’, which was incorporated into the games we played. We started by sounding out various sounds, including ‘air’, ‘oo’ and ‘th’ and then progressed to formulate words containing those sounds and matching the words with photos. We played a couple of interactive learning games and then toward the end of the session I read Dr Seuss’ ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’.”
We were very impressed with the work the charity is doing with the students they teach. The children had such a strong desire to learn and show off their literacy skills to us. The mentors are doing an amazing job and we hope they will be able to continue the programme for years to come.