Fluent reading and literacy is a passport to a more successful journey ride through your schooling and your life. It’s vital to understanding any subject, to gain employment, to achieve goals and to function in society.
Reading doesn’t come as easily to some children as to others however, but for the most recent batch of graduates of the Gladstone Literacy Centre, writing and reading has taken on some exciting new possibilities.
Improving by an average of fifteen months during the two-term program, Chris Tanner, founder of the Gladstone Literacy Centre and his team of teachers and volunteers have been responsible for more than 500 children catching up on literally years of reading proficiency.
“We had one young fellow and he read with me a few times and every word was a battle,” Chris said of one of the students in the last intake who graduated on the 24th of November.
“He used to get so frustrated. Well, I heard him the other day and he was flying. He’s a happy little fellow now it’s just transformed him. And these are the things we see as a result of this program,”
The Gladstone Literacy Centre has had several names since it started in Gladstone in 2001 including the Exodus Tutorial Centre, mainly to ensure the continuing financing of the program. It now operates under the auspices of the Bill Crews Charitable Trust
“My only issue has been making sure we’ve always got enough money. The community has really kept us afloat. I paid everything for the first three years and after that, the community started to come on board, and they’ve really been quite extraordinary,” Chris said.
Besides seeing the children succeed, Chris says his motivation to continue working to improve children’s literacy in our town is simple: a desire to give back.
“Gladstone was very good to us. All our children had gone and I was looking for something to support and I wasn’t really happy about giving money to charity because I was never really sure if it was being spent here in Gladstone,” he said.
He heard Bill Crews speaking about the MultiLit literacy program on ABC Radio in 1998 and his choice for the program which has given so much to the children and young adults of Gladstone was quickly made: “It sounded pretty good to me,” Chris said.