Igniting the spark within - Igniting the by sdsdfqw21


									                     Igniting the
                     spark within
                                               Sydney school student Khaled El Chakik’s
                                               literacy and conversational skills improved
                                               markedly after participating in a reading
                                               program, but he wasn’t the only one to benefit.
                                               Investec paralegal Jodie Kelleher was a reading mentor to year three student
                                               Khaled, and they met weekly as part of the six-month Spark program which aims
     Investec paralegal Jodie Kelleher.        to encourage students to engage further in their schooling and community by
                                               improving language skills.
     Spark is part of Investec Australia’s
     social care program with the Australian
                                               This is the second year that Villawood North Public School has been involved in the
     Business and Community Network,           Spark program, where selected students in years two and three attended one-on-
     where staff are encouraged to             one reading and mentoring sessions with Investec staff. Jodie visited Khaled at the
     participate in projects to bring about    school, where Diane Highman was relieving principal at the time.
     positive social change by engaging
     their hearts and minds in the local       With five children under the age of 10, Khaled’s mum Nouha was thrilled to have
     communities.                              seen such an improvement in Khaled’s reading skills after participating in the Spark
                                               reading program.

                                               Investec reading mentor: Jodie Kelleher
                                               This was the first time I participated in the Spark program; I was inspired after
                                               hearing an introductory talk by Villawood North Public School principal Geoff Chong
                                               Sun last year on how such a simple act as listening to kids read can snowball to
                                               make such a big difference in their whole lives. It opens windows into a future that
                                               may otherwise be closed forever, and I wanted to be part of this snowball effect.

                                               Khaled was only eight when we started reading together, and I believe this is a
                                               formative age in a child’s life. I remember my mum reading with me when I was
                                               Khaled’s age and how that inspired my imagination and my motivation to do well at

                                               After we got through Khaled’s initial shyness and as he warmed to me, I was struck
                                               by how cheerful and witty he was. As the weeks progressed, I saw his reading ability
                                               improve - as well as his concentration - and he started bringing more difficult books
                                               to our sessions. He quickly developed an interest in stories and the characters within
                                               them. The Spark program was my opportunity to ‘give back’ to my community, and
                                               I am blessed to have met Khaled and to have shared in part of his journey.

  a brighter future = mentoring + community spirit + (a good book x commitment)
In2view summer 2009/10
                                                                                 I loved reading the books
                                                                                 with Jodie, it was so much
                                                                                 fun. I never thought books
                                                                                 could be so good and I can’t
                                                                                 wait to read some more.
                                                                                 Khaled El Chakik

                                                                                                            Villawood North Public
                                                                                                            School relieving principal:
                                                                                                            Diane Highman

Mum: Nouha El Chakik                                             Villawood North Public School relieving principal:
I always knew that Khaled wasn’t too interested in reading,      Diane Highman
but I had no idea where his sudden interest in books came        We often find that students do better at their schoolwork
from until the school informed me that he had a reading          once they find an internal motivation to do well, but some
mentor. That was when I became aware of the Spark                students need that extra little bit of encouragement to
reading program.                                                 ignite the spark within.

The changes I saw in Khaled during this time were nothing        Interacting with people outside of their normal daily
short of amazing. His reading improved so much over the          interactions exposes these kids to new ways of looking at
year and he’d come home from school with books that he           the world and, often, a newfound curiosity about learning. As
wanted to read to me. His determination to read these books      well as giving these students exposure to a person who is
was inspiring.                                                   not their teacher, parent or other relative with whom they are
                                                                 already familiar, the mentors open a window for these kids to
I know that Khaled loved reading with Jodie and that he’d
                                                                 get a glimpse of the bigger world beyond our local area.
want to be part of it all again next year. It has already made
such a big difference to his progress at school, and I am        We select students to participate in the program who we
so grateful. I really hope my other kids get the chance to       think could benefit the most from this interaction and we
participate too.                                                 are always pleased to see them go back to class having
                                                                 discovered a newfound pleasure in books.
It was also such a thrill to share the experience of visiting
the Investec Sydney office on a school excursion and see         Khaled is in year three, and it was great to see him look
the kids make cupcakes. He was so proud to have been             forward to reading with Jodie on Tuesdays. His reading
involved, and the people at Investec were so great. It was a     ability has definitely improved over the year, and he
fabulous experience for us to have together.                     has also become more confident participating in other
                                                                 classroom subjects. Importantly, he learned how to relax
After meeting the reading mentors from Investec I
                                                                 when out of his comfort zone.
understood why Khaled was so excited about participating.
                                                                 We are delighted to have been involved with Investec
They were the most beautiful people; they were warm and
                                                                 and the Australian Business and Community Network for
friendly, and were just so lovely.
                                                                 the past two years, and we look forward to participating
Thank you all so much for making it possible.                    again next year.

                                                                                                   In2view summer 2009/10

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