Two newly renovated and well-organised corner libraries at Rosmead Central Primary School aim to promote reading among the children to reduce illiteracy.

The libraries were renovated by the Help2Read programme and learners love the new spaces.

The learners say the libraries make their one-on-one sessions with the reading volunteers from Help2Read exciting.

Unathi Harmans has been using the facility since the beginning of this year and describes the old corner library as less appealing compared to the recently painted and organised facility.

She is attending the programme to help her improve her reading skills and says the colours used to decorate the space make her feel relaxed during the sessions.

“I am learning English and the volunteers are helping me so much. At first I found the library boring and the sessions felt very long, but now the space is beautiful. I like being here, it makes it easy to read.”

The walls have been painted and decorated with colourful educational posters and there are more books.

School principal Ian Kriel says they are grateful for what Help2Read has done for them as the school continues to explore better ways of creating a comfortable learning environment and getting involved with various programmes that equip learners to improve their language skills.

He says the school accommodates learners from various communities, with most of their learners being non-English speakers with a very strong need for intervention to help them understand and make sense of most new words they come across in their reading and in turn help grow their vocabulary.

“What Help2Read does for the school is very remarkable. We want to give our learners the best assistance we can to help them cope and excel in their academics. It is difficult for a child who has little understanding of the language to perform to the best of their ability due to the language barrier­.

“If they can read and make sense of what they are reading, it will be easy to improve their marks in classrooms. A learner-friendly environment helps relax the mind and is more attractive.”

The school has seven volunteers who take turns to give sessions to individual learners.

Maria Jacobs is one of these volunteers. She says there has been a positive response from the learners since the start of the term as they find the new libraries attractive.

She says she is pleased to be part of the change at the school.

Heather van Graan, Help2Read relationships coordinator, says the organisation is working with 37 schools in the southern suburbs and Rosmead is one of the schools that need intervention in improving reading skills. She says they believe every child deserves a better education with a proper foundation, so they extend their services to needy schools.

“A learner friendly environment is conducive for learning. The volunteers play a very crucial role in not only improving reading, but providing mentorship to the learners they come in contact with. It is a confidence building and self-affirming thing for an adult to come into the life of a child, simply to provide assistance.”