Many parents and caregivers choose to send their children to inner-city schools, far from where they actually live, in the hope of them receiving a better education. However, English is usually the language used to teach in these schools, which for most children, is a second language. Larger classes add to the challenges of children whose below the norm literacy levels put them ‘at risk’.
Shine Centres provide individualised support to children in Grades Two and Three (the Shine Literacy Hour) to strengthen their English reading, writing and speaking skills. Children work with trained volunteers once or twice a week, during the school day, for at least one year. A simple assessment at the end of Grade One is used to select the children who will take part in the programme. Further bi-annual assessments enable children’s progress to be carefully tracked.
Shine Centres bring benefits for the whole school, not just for those children who attend the programme. Grade R, One, Two and Three classrooms are equipped with multi-cultural age-appropriate storybooks to promote a culture of reading throughout the school. Shine also facilitates an annual Family Literacy Workshop at each school which is host to a Shine Centre.