Rockies exchange sticks for books

The Columbia Valley Rockies hockey team is taking part in the One to One Children's Literacy program.

In an effort to improve literacy in our community, the Columbia Valley Rockies hockey team, in partnership with Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) and local parent volunteers are helping organize and take part in the One to One Children’s Literacy program.

Starting sometime in February, members of the Rockies hockey club will be travelling to local elementary schools to take part in the volunteer literacy program, assisting children one on one — as the name suggests — with their literacy skills.

Tutoring sessions are about one or two hours long, and will be taking place at Eileen Madson Primary School, Edgewater Elementary and possibly J.A. Laird, provided a parent volunteer can be found to help organize the program.

“I think the Rockies are really good role models for our kids in the building, especially in helping develop literacy,” Lisa Tenta, principal of Eileen Madson said.

“Any time we can foster reading skills in our kids, I think that we’re helping move kids’ learning forward, and its great to have community involvement—it’s a nice way to show that we’re a community helping our learners move forward together.”

While the program is facilitated by CBAL, it’s operated solely by parent volunteers in each school. CBAL provides training for parents and tutors taking part, but from then on it’s run entirely by volunteers.

“Having a young person, and an athlete—somebody that the students can admire and really kind of relate to are excellent reasons (to have the Rockies involved),” Columbia Valley CBAL co-ordinator Katie Andruschuk said.

“As a parent, I can certainly speak to any enrichment that can be provided to my kids, and because I feel strongly about literacy in general, I think these programs — besides teaching reading and helping children succeed — I think it gives the children a passion, and a reason to enjoy reading.”

Students are selected by teachers to take part, either for help improving their literacy or for enrichment opportunities. Andruschuk says it’s also great to see parents and volunteers becoming more active in their schools.

“Among the goals besides success at reading and improving literacy, would be getting parents involved and getting volunteers in the schools,” Andruschuk said. “(It’s about) broadening the children’s experiences, and giving them more instruction outside the classroom.”