Marg Johnson is determined to help local children who have fallen behind at school during the pandemic.
“Our elementary students are falling behind in several areas, not the least of which is in their reading,” said the coordinator of ‘Kids Konnection’ — a new reading support program at Central Baptist Church in Sarnia.
Cancelled classes, online learning, and added stressors at home haven’t helped, she said.
Johnson said the church’s Learning & Growth Committee brainstormed ways to use the mostly-vacant building to help youngsters struggling academically, after hearing concerns of local teachers.
“If we can take these kids at whatever their reading level is, and get them hooked on reading to the point where they’re reading 20 minutes every night — eventually they’re going to get caught up,” said Johnson, a retired Child & Youth worker.
The three-month program starts March 29 and runs Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., for Grades 1 through 6.
Participants are matched with a mentor for 30 minutes of reading and comprehension.
“It’s mostly retired teachers and grandparents,” said Johnson. “They just want to sit and listen to the kids read.”
Registration is open for 24 spots for a $20 monthly fee. Interested parents can call the church at 519-344-1381.
“These kids are going to have the complete, one-on-one attention of this person for three months, every Tuesday, and they are going to know that person is there, just for them, to help them be successful,” said Johnson.
“That’s what I want each kid to feel — that they are the centre of that particular universe.”