It was a cool, grey morning and all was quiet in the St Jude’s lower primary library.
All but the clear, steady voice of 15-year-old Edgar, as he read a carefully chosen tale aloud to an eager, captivated Grade 2 class.
The beloved adventures of Frog and Toad, brimming with lessons for children to understand and appreciate their individuality, was chosen by Edgar as he wants to see these students reach their potential.
“When we read to the students, it’s different from a teacher. They’re comfortable and can express their feelings,” Edgar, who is in Form 3 at St Jude’s, said.
“We are in the middle of teachers and students, and the students see us as brothers,” fellow storyteller Praise said. “It’s good helping and it’s full of fun.”
The children’s silence was only broken by the interactive part of the lesson, where they were asked questions about the book.
“We ask questions when we’re reading to make sure they’re on track,”
Edgar explained. “Maybe someone was not listening, so next time they know they should be listening to answer the question.”
The enchanting scene, which saw Edgar and fellow Interactors shared the magic of a good book, was more than just a tale.
Numerous Interactors gave their June secondary school break to volunteer at our primary school.
The Interactors said it was vital that students learn early on to pay attention to the material, and that is why they each chose to read books with a lesson to learn.
“If you’re reading a book, you need to know what the implication of the book is, gain some knowledge. It’s not just for leisure,” Edgar said.
“When they come to secondary (school), and come to a reading in an exam, they’ll have to analyse the theme so reading like this is helpful.”
“Every book in the library has a lesson. They have meaning,” Praise chimed in.
“When they reach secondary (the work) will be much easier for students who think like this. You need to be able to analyze critically – think big.”
Praise, Erasto and Edgar also spoke about the importance of ensuring children become comfortable with, and make a habit of reading, the English language early on.
“Did you see the girl who was reading the story there?,” Edgar said, gesturing towards a young girl who volunteered to tell a story to the class at the end of the lesson. “I know that story, it’s a Swahili story. She was translating it, and it was very good.”
Numerous Interact students came to the primary school campus during their holidays to help in various areas, from the library to the kitchen and helping with exams in upper primary.
Daudi, one of four students helping with exams, said the experience was a “good” one and he chose to help in that area because there was a specific need for it.
“The teachers need a lot of assistance at this time, and are grateful for the help,” he said.
St Jude’s Interact club, made up of 80 secondary students between the ages of 12 and 18, have been working on increasing projects such as this to help their community.
They are aided by coordinator Seb Cox, a 21-year-old education student and Rotaractor from Canberra.
Stay tuned to find out about the progress our Interactors are making, or talk to your local Rotary club about helping St Jude’s.