MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 - Last spring two students from Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North stepped out of their comfort zone to take part in a reading project involving the two kindergarten classes at nearby Gerald McShane Elementary School. Paula Guiducci and Robert Haughton were selected for their advanced reading skills to pilot this initiative. They chose and diligently read to the children over a four week period.
The idea was introduced by EMSB Resource person Judy Kennedy and developed during the months of May and June with a little prepping from their teachers Lu Termini and Julie Mancini. The reading project, which was finalized by Galileo Principal Angela Monteferrante-Orsi and Gerald McShane’s former principal Evelyn Alfonsi, proved to be a huge success. Each Monday, both Paula and Robert arrived at Patricia Tramontin and Christina Franchetto’s classrooms with their books in hand, ready to entertain the little ones who were eager to be receiving classroom visitors.
The two special needs students’ confidence was unmistakably apparent through their reading clarity and expression, which in turn prompted the five year olds to ask dozens of questions. Apart from the little ones’ undivided attention and engagement, this reading project demonstrates the true meaning of teaching and how it positively affects both educator and child.
This experience gave Paula and Robert the opportunity to enter the community while enhancing their self-esteem. The kindergarteners benefited by practicing their social skills and coming into contact with other adults aside from their regular teachers. When asked what the best part of the project was, Paula glowingly responded “answering their questions” and Robert stated his experience to be “fun and exciting.”