Public libraries play a key role strengthening the local community. They focus on building community and inspire patrons by providing educational resources, like literature, art and music for every member of the community. Libraries are champions of youth and Markham libraries are, simply put, community builders.
The Markham Public Library (MPL) and Youth and Parents Association of Markham (YPAM) are joining forces to launch a new initiative, the “Reading to Success” program, starting in 2018 at the new Aaniin Community Centre and Library, which is located at 5725-5735 14th Ave.
The collaboration hopes to improve student achievement and increase performance at school. Engaging families in the program can lead to increased knowledge of personal vocabulary, strengthening analytical and writing skills, along with improving concentration and knowledge through memory. The goal is to create a literacy-rich environment for every child and to become a city of readers.
The message is also embraced and welcomed by Andre Crawford, deputy police chief; Andy Taylor, municipal CAO; David Zambrano, library programs manager; Pam Saliba, library manager; Naveen Malik, branch librarian; and Evelyn Fok, community librarian.
What is “Reading to Success?”
It’s a volunteer-facilitated reading program established by YPAM to motivate children and parents to read regularly and is currently offered, at no cost, to junior kindergarten through Grade 2 children every Saturday. During the session, a reading mentor will use the “five-finger rule” to identify the child’s understanding of the page. To help parents make informed decisions about their child’s progress, feedback is shared monthly.
The program uses an assisted reading approach, which means, as the child reads aloud, a proficient reader follows along silently. A reading mentor is assigned during each session to facilitate activities with the child or a group of children. The activities vary by grade, but the core focus is to engage while developing reading and comprehension skills. To make the experience optimal, the mentor will adapt to each child’s needs.
YPAM believes, through the program and partnership, children will take away valuable skills and techniques, which can be useful in school and at home. Parental engagement in learning through reading practices can help strengthen the provincial literacy rate while setting a good foundation for their children’s education.
“Together, we are one team, working towards one literacy goal” reads a recent news release.
“Reading to Success” will be directed by Vathana Pathmanathan, who has worked as a page for the Toronto Public Library for more than eight years. She has accepted the new role along with her current roles as YPAM meeting chairperson and secretary.