40 students improve reading skills via Reach Out and Read program

POSTED: 04/27/11 11:48 AM

St. Maarten – Some 43 students who signed up for this year’s Reach Out and Read program at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library have ended the first term on a high note with improved reading skills.

The first half of the Reach Out and Touch sponsored program ends in April each year to allow for the Carnival holidays and the Little League baseball program to which many of the weekly readers belong.

Co-program volunteers Stella Elstak and Duane Richardson said this year’s readers benefitted from changes in the library venue, especially with the use of more computers by the young readers who are working on improving their reading skills.


“There has been some marked improvement overall, and some exceptional improvement in some of our readers, especially the ones who have continued to attend the reading sessions on a consistent basis,” said Duane Richardson who annually grades and assesses the development of the readers.

She said the program sponsors, the foundation and the Phillipsburg Jubilee Library will get togther before the second half of the annual program begins later in the year on September 18 to talk about new books, other reading initatives and once again the involvement of parents and volunteers in the program.

“We want to develop the comprehension skills of the readers because as well as being able to read well, it is also important for you to understand what you are reading so that you understands the words in the context that they are written,” continued Mrs. Richardson.

“We were very fortunate once again to have the students of St. Dominic High School and one student from Learning Unlimited work with us as volunteers. They have been a great help with a shortage of adult volunteers available to the program this year,” said Stella Elstak.

She spotlighted one student named Erica, from the University of St. Martin, who also proved to be invaluable to the program this year as well as identifying the USM as a future source of  reading volunteers.

“We provide the training and direction that’s needed, but anyone to volunteer must be committed, at least for the term that they are joining us, because as well as asking parents to bring their children consistently, we also need to have a consitent group of volunteers who can pick up from where they leave off week after week,” continued the volunteers.


The first half of the year program was brought to an end at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Saturday, April 16 with presentations to deserving readers who have shown the most improvement and also to readers, Amela Farrell and Kenrick Lachana, for completing and returning the most number of homework reading puzzles.


Students volunteering on the program were also presented with complimentary tee shirts as a token of appreciation from the Reach Out and Touch Foundation.


On another note the students and volunteers wished a speedy recovery to ROAT member and Reach Out and Read program coordinator Lloyd Temmer who could not attend the most recent reading program graduation due to illness. He sent a message of congratulations and best wishes to all the readers for a good term’s work.


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