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Fostering literacy at Kersley and Voyageur Elementary School

Volunteers from the Quesnel Literacy Society are meeting twice a week with students
A volunteer works with a Kersley Elementary School student participating in the Fostering Literacy program on Tuesday, April 26. (Rebecca Beuschel photo)

They have a love for books and twice a week they share that love with students at Kersley and Voyageur Elementary School who struggle with reading.

Trained volunteers with the Literacy Quesnel Society have recently returned to fostering literacy in schools operated by the Quesnel School District.

For about 45 minutes the volunteers meet after school with students who are provided with a healthy snack such as cheese, yogurt, or a piece of fruit before choosing one of many books spread out on two or three tables.

The tutor also selects a book that they read with their pupil.

Executive director Rebecca Beuschel provides program support in Kersley and said they always try to end their sessions on a fun note with a game of hangman or tic-tac-toe.

“We can never say if your child is in Fostering Literacy their reading skill will improve, but we can say together with what they’re getting from the school year, there’s a really good chance that their skills will improve,” she said.

“And more than that it’s their interest in books.”

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Students not reading at their grade level are selected for the program by their teachers.

Some students enter the after-school program saying they hate reading or that it’s dumb, Beuschel noted. Over time that attitude, however, often changes and students even gain a new sense of confidence once the program with their volunteer tutor comes to an end in May or January.

“It’s lovely for the volunteers and most of the time it’s really lovely for the kids,” Beuschel said.

The Fostering Literacy program is offered in 15 communities across the province and is funded by B.C.’s provincial literacy organization, Decoda Literacy Solutions.

In the past, elementary students from Voyageur or Riverview would attend Correlieu Secondary School, where older students provided tutoring.

“I’m hoping that in the fall of 2022, we can get that going again,” Beuschel said, adding it would provide their community volunteers, who are predominantly retired, the opportunity to attend another school.

Anyone interested in volunteering with Fostering Literacy can contact Beuschel at 778-414-9119 or email

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