Program gives Ty a passion for reading

TY Forrest has a new found passion for reading.

The Ravenswood Heights Primary School grade 4 pupil, has shown a marked improvement in his literacy skills since joining The Smith Family's student2student program.

The national program brings a primary school-aged child together with a high school student over the phone, for twice weekly, half-hour reading sessions.

The program runs throughout terms 2 and 3 for 18 weeks.

According to Ty's mother, Emma, he is really enjoying the sessions and has not only improved his reading, but his interest in reading has grown.

``His confidence in other ways has also really grown, that's been a big thing for him'' she said.

Ty said most of the books he had been reading were about wildlife and travelling around the world.

His reading buddy is Matthew, they've never met and their full identities are not revealed to each other so the program is focused purely on helping Ty develop his reading skills.

The Smith Family has been running the program for a number of years with the aim of improving the reading skills of those pupils struggling to keep up with their peers. Both children are supplied with mobile phones and 1800 minutes of call time by corporate sponsor Optus.

General manager Alison Standen said a recent review of the program found 93 per cent of participants in Tasmania improved their reading and two-thirds boosted their reading age by more than six months.

The program will reach 300 children across nine locations in Tasmania this year.

Ty Forrest, 10, on the phone to his reading buddy as part of The Smith Family Literacy program at Ravenswood Heights Primary School. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

Ty Forrest, 10, on the phone to his reading buddy as part of The Smith Family Literacy program at Ravenswood Heights Primary School. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON

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