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Trent Students Hold Conference to Promote Literacy
January 1, 2007

On Saturday, January 21, Trent University students who volunteer for Frontier College hosted the seventh annual Literacy Conference on campus. More than 75 students took part in this training opportunity to learn new skills and information to help them teach people how to read and write in a variety of programs run by Frontier College.

Featured presenters included Ken Martin of Frontier College, as well as several members of the Trent community. A wide range of literacy topics were discussed, such as geography professor Susan Wurtele’s talk on different learning styles, Master Stephen Brown’s presentation on early learning and children’s picture books. Robert Silvestri from the Disabilities Services Office at Trent provided insights into the many forms of ADHD and how they affect learning acquisition. To show the provincial reach of Frontier College, Trent student Meagan Sheffield described her experiences teaching last summer in fly-in Aboriginal communities across Northern Ontario.

Frontier College at Trent University (FC@TU) is one of many campus programs organized by Frontier College, and the only university that continues to hold an annual conference. Trent’s program is very well established, averaging 100-120 volunteers each year assisting with four literacy programs, as described below:

Tutoring Program

Tutors meet with their learner once a week for one hour from October to April. Tutors focus on helping their learner improve literacy related skills and to make reading and writing understandable and enjoyable. This program is one-on-one, and thus the largest program offer by FC@TU with over 65 volunteers.

Homework Club

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings from October to April, a group of volunteers visit Prince of Wales School to assist students with homework and literacy. This year the program has expanded from solely helping grades six to eight students to instead having volunteers go into various classrooms related to their studies at Trent and helping the entire class. This is FC@TU’s newest program with approximately 10 volunteers.

Community Reading Circle Program

Reading circle leaders attend a weekly reading circle from October to April. They lead and supervise activities at the circle to make reading an enjoyable experience for a group of young children. Trent Daycare and the Antrim Daycare are the childcare centers FC@TU has chosen to benefit from this program which involves 10 more volunteers.

Seniors' Reading Companions Program

Volunteers visit with elderly individuals in a retirement/nursing home to help them continue to enjoy reading despite conditions and impairments that might otherwise prevent them from doing so (e.g. failing eyesight). The Peterborough Riverview Manor hosts the senior’s program which again enables ten more volunteers to help spread the joys of literacy.

The mission of Frontier College is to strengthen Canada’s social fabric by engaging and mobilizing volunteers to take action in the cause of literacy and learning. Through its programs, Frontier College demonstrates the power of non-formal learning to make changes in people’s lives and works in partnership with children, teens and adults across Canada.

For further information, please contact Heather Dale, FC@TU Treasurer and Public Relations Coordinator at heatherdale@trentu.ca