Chevron Canada and Calgary Reads have built a strong partnership over the past five years through a shared goal of promoting childhood literacy.
Recently, 18 company employees took to the gymnasium floor at Radisson Park Elementary in southeast Calgary to read to students in Grades 1 and 2.
Chevron Canada's Monica Gomes reads to excited children at a Calgary Reads Reading Rally at Radisson Park School.
The reading rally – where adults read appropriate age-related books to groups of two to four children -- was organized by the company’s Women’s Network.
“That was absolutely great,” said Chevron’s Autumn Linklater, a self-confessed bookworm, after reading to the children during the afternoon session. “They were so stoked that we were there and they were asking ‘are you coming to see us again?’ I got hugs from all of them.”
The Love of Reading
Chevron Canada and Calgary Reads, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping struggling readers in Grades 1 and 2 overcome their challenges, have been partners since 2010.
Chevron Canada employees volunteer for Calgary Reads events and provide their skills for the organization’s board, project management, business improvement and safety in the partnership.
Calgary Reads points to the stark fact that 28 percent of children entering Kindergarten are behind their peers in literacy skills. If they don’t catch up by the third grade, they are unlikely to later.
“A reading rally event is a wonderful opportunity to help Grade 1 and 2 children get excited about reading,” said Calgary Reads Executive Director Steacy Collyer. “Imagine their delight when volunteer adults sit down on the floor to read aloud to them in small groups. Close up, they see the enthusiasm and excitement the adult shares and how they bring the story alive.”
‘Foundation of Learning’
Chevron Canada’s Andrea Coli has been sharing her love of reading with her children since they were infants. Even though they’re 12 and nine now, Coli said she still reads to them.
“It was a nightly, bed-time thing but not exclusive to bedtime,” she recalled. “Now I read to them occasionally when we go on a car trip.
“A love of reading is the foundation for the love of learning and when kids love to learn, the sky’s the limit. It opens up so many possibilities.”