Congratulations to the Gladstone Literary Centre graduates

Standing up and making a speech in front of 100 people under the eye of a television news camera is enough to make the most seasoned speaker sweat, but for a group of Calliope children, it’s all part of their reading journey.

Last Friday, Mathew, Blake, Summalea, Drake, Chloe, Xander, Kaylah, Leo, Deakin, Cooper, Blake, Kyle, Xavier, Brock, Brayden, Krystall, Lincoln, Connor, Annabel, Curtis and Bailey graduated from the Gladstone Literacy Centre’s 18 week program, proud of their achievements and excited about their future as fluent readers.

The intensive literacy boot-camp – 2.5 hours a day, five days a week for eighteen weeks – resulted in an average improvement in reading age of 29 months per child for reading comprehension and 17 months in reading accuracy. That’s well over fifty years!

For the first time in its long local history, the Gladstone Literacy Centre, founded by Chris Tanner, organised a group solely for the students from one school. Calliope Primary School were first, with Kin Kora State School and Gladstone West to follow.

The year three group, who co-wrote this article, say they’ve read classic adaptations of stories like The Elephant Man, Frankenstein and Mutiny on the Bounty:

“This is from children who may not have even been able name an author at the beginning of the program,” teacher Jennifer Kirschner remarked, as the kids reeled off the many books they’d read together with volunteers over the course of the program.

From Dr Seuss to David Walliams, Black Beauty, Ned Kelly and Tom Sawyer, Kaylah explained how they used tracking to remember what they had read. Deakin said he enjoyed reading now, he’d never do it for fun before.

With eight sets of twins in the group, the students explained how they’d had a visit from possibly Gladstone’s most famous twin, Glenn Butcher (or was it Wayne?) as part of their guest speaker program. He joined other local dignitaries, emergency service workers including the Calliope Fire Brigade, random journalists (!) and Fitz from the Dog Squad at the Gladstone Police Station who talked to the kids about their work. Sergeant Bill did the talking for Fitz!

We would like to say congratulations and very well done to all of the Gladstone Literacy Centre graduates.

They join the almost six hundred children in our region assisted by the GLC under its various names since 2001, with the current cohort of graduates the 35th group to complete the program.