Reading for Life® was designed by a psychologist, teacher and speech pathologist to provide one-on-one support to children with reading disorders, including dyslexia.

The program targets children in Years 2-4 who are struggling and falling behind in their literacy development. Addressing learning and literacy is important if we want children to have the best chance of success. Children who suffer from learning difficulties have a far greater likelihood of poor behaviour, poor social relations and delinquency.

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  • Trained volunteer buddies work at school with the children to improve their reading, self-esteem and confidence, through a variety of fun activities and games to encourage engagement and interest.
  • Buddies visit the children once a week for 15 weeks and take them through a semi-structured program.
  • Each child is tested prior to the program to determine their reading levels across a number of areas and their self-concept.
  • They are re-tested again at the end of the program to determine their improvement.
  • This information is compiled into a report that is given to the school and each parent.
  • Feedback is also requested from the school, Reading Buddies, children and their parents at the end of the program.

Reading for Life has been enormously successful since its development in 2003, with children making valuable gains in reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Also, and most importantly, the confidence and enjoyment of reading in participating children has increased, influencing their self-esteem and motivation to learn.

By intervening at an early age, Learning Links aims to prevent children leaving school with limited literacy outcomes. Addressing reading problems during the primary school years will have a long-term impact on the child. The benefits of the program are sustainable for each participating child – once they develop their literacy skills, it affects the outcomes of all their subjects at school. As children move into high school, the ability to read is essential, as without it they will struggle to move ahead academically.

Our education system and teachers work hard to support all students in schools, however are constrained by time, funding and specific training in the area of learning difficulties. Learning Links works in partnership with school communities to complement their programs and supports for the maximum outcomes for children.

Learning Links is focussed on resolving a significant and serious issue in our community – the negative impact of learning difficulties on our children and their future. Without the help of Learning Links, the education outcomes, wellbeing and potential of these children are affected, at great cost to our community.

Volunteer Reading Buddies have also benefited enormously from their involvement in the program, recognising the difference they have made to children’s lives.

Gains Made By Children

On average, over a 15-week period, children participating have made the following learning gains and improved their:

Sight Words 13 months
Knowledge of Sounds 20%
Reading Self-concept 5 points
Reading Accuracy 11 months
Reading Comprehension 9 months
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What the Reading for Life kids say

“Thank you for helping me with my reading”

“Thanks for teaching me, it was fun and good”

“I became more interested in reading books.”

“The words I could not read before, now I can read.”

“I feel better about reading.”

“I’m better at reading and I can read harder novels.”

“I know how to sound things out.”

“My reading buddy was helpful and friendly.”

“It made reading easier.”

“I like reading with my buddy.”

“When I do homework, I can understand the words and facts.”

“Thanks for helping me. I can read more words.”

“I miss you. I am a good reader now. I loved it.”

“Playing games was my favourite activity.”

“My Buddy was happy, helpful, talented and very smart! You’re a good friend. The games were good.”

“My Buddy was friendly. You were very nice to me. We get to read different books. I feel like I am in the world of champion readers.”

“I had so much fun. I enjoyed all the activities. I think you’d like it. I still love reading. I think I’ve improved.”

“I do not feel tired as soon as a book comes out.”