Letters, sounds, words, time and cash. These are the gifts the Kiwanis Club of Brantford, Ontario, give annually to the young students of Strong Start, a community literacy project.
Club Secretary Robert "Bob" MacLean says the club's support began in 2009 and continues to this day with Letters, Sounds and Words, a 10-week program for 5- to 7-year-old children.
"It uses short games and activities to provide repetition to help young children recognize letters," MacLean says, "the sound each one represents, how to learn words by sight and how to learn a word by using the sounds of its letters."
Club members are trained as volunteer coaches to work with one child at a time and follow prescribed activities using the materials provided.
"The program has been extremely successful in all schools where it has been conducted, with glowing reports from principals, teachers and parents," MacLean says. "Significant improvements in reading capabilities are reported among the many children who have been exposed to the program since inception." — Shanna Mooney