For over 25 years, JAME (J’apprends avec mon enfant) has been preventing kids from leaving school and fighting illiteracy by intervening early with children in need and their families. In a pilot project set to take place this year, the non-profit organization will be offering its services in English at Verdun Elementary school. This effort will concentrate on 20 first and second grade children who are deemed at-risk.
JAME program connects identified students with reading deficiencies with a trained volunteer who reads for, and with, the child to develop a curiosity for books. The program has helped create hundreds of readers leading to better futures for everyone involved.
Teachers determine who’s eligible to enter the program. A coordinator then visits their home to gauge which volunteer would best suit the situation. After, a volunteer is appointed and becomes a regular visitor to the family home.
« Often, what starts as just reading to a child once a week becomes something much more, » explains JAME Director Patricia Bossy. « Soon after they start, the volunteers, the child as well as their family often develop a strong bond. »
This pilot project will be partly financed by a grant from Entente administrative sur la gestion du fonds québécois d’initiatives sociales dans le cadre de la lutte contre la pauvreté et l’exclusion sociale (Ville-MTESS). It will be the first time the literacy program will be offered in English since before the 1998 change from denominational to linguistic scholastic commissions when the English boards suspended its funding.
Literacy for all
The JAME program has been a feature in the Montreal school system since 1991, when it was part of the Commission Scolaire Sault Saint-Louis and over the years it transformed and restructured until it became a registered charity in 2005. Throughout that time, JAME has helped hundreds of children and families learn to love reading. Entering the English schools is a natural progression and a return to the past.
« We are very happy to once again be able to offer this program to the English community of Verdun, » states a beaming Maria Sol Terraza, Coordinator of English program. « A love of reading has been shown to have a direct impact on long-term academic success. The aim of this project is to ensure that children discover the wonderful world of books. »
The goal is not necessarily to teach the child how to read, but to demonstrate the joy, pleasure and wonder that reading can offer while developing their reading skills. JAME has helped many children from all backgrounds including lower income families, recent immigrants as well as those with special needs to overcome their literacy obstacles.
This new horizon for JAME has its challenges. Finding committed volunteers is one that they constantly confront. If you are interested, call Patricia Bossy at 514-765-7686, ext. 7018.