Exciting times for students and residents of Rochford Place retirement village as Channel 9 News heads out to see their intergenerational reading program in action.
It is not every day that a camera crew joins the intergenerational reading program that sees residents from Rochford Place retirement village help students improve their reading, so there was lots of extra excitement in the room when Channel 9 News’ Mike Dalton and his team came by Ropes Crossing Public School to see how the program is going.
The initiative kicked off in October 2022 and has been so successful that it was not only extended in 2023, but residents also started supporting the school’s Breakfast Program and their second hand uniform stall.
To see the generations interact and learn from each other in action, Channel 9 News came out to speak with Rochford Place residents and some of the little people from Ropes Crossing Public School who have been involved in the Intergenerational Reading Program.
The feature story was shown on Channel 9 News on 20 March 2023.
Intergenerational reading programs are designed to bring together individuals from different age groups to read, learn and connect with each other. The programs typically pair young students with older adults who serve as reading partners and their personal mentors.
The goal of the program is to foster relationships between generations and promote literacy skills. They have been shown to benefit both the younger and older participants: For children, the programs provide an opportunity to improve their reading skills, develop social skills, and build self-confidence. For older adults, the programs offer an opportunity to stay engaged with their communities and give back to the younger generations.
All these benefits convinced the residents of Rochford Place in NSW to take charge and set up their own intergenerational reading program. So they reached out to Ropes Crossing Public School to see if there was any interest in setting up such a program - and there surely was!
After inviting residents to their ANZAC day event in 2022, the school’s principal gave the go ahead and the program officially kicked off on 17 October 2022 with 8 Rochford Place residents signed up to help the students once a week to improve their reading skills. The program includes participants from Grades Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 5.
Soren Hemingway, an English teacher who worked for TAFE NSW, is one of the volunteers involved in the program. “I am happy to contribute to the local school with my experience, even though the kids think I’m possibly ancient.”, he says. “I am enjoying the little conversations I am having with the students and learning about what it is that they enjoy doing such as watching television and going to the beach.”
"I am enjoying the little conversations I am having with the students and learning about what it is that they enjoy doing..."
Jean Ferrington is a former Primary School Teacher and has already spent a lot of her retirement years volunteering at various schools, so this was a great opportunity for her to help out at a local school and assist young people in their reading skills.
“I have taught children for a long time and if there is a need and I can contribute, then I am happy to support.” she says. “I am having a wonderful time and enjoying the program. I am learning too! Today’s school practices is all new to me, so I am learning a lot from the children as they are from me.”
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