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Somersfield students fund reading tutors

  • Making donation: Glenn Faries, executive director of The Reading Clinic, centre receives cheque from students Aciram Burgess, Denim Cann, Eliza Withers-Clarke and Harriet Theisen (Photo by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

A group of Somersfield Academy pupils have donated $1,400 to help other young Bermudians improve their reading skills.

The five-strong team raised enough to send two people to be trained as Reading Clinic tutors to help young people across the island boost their literacy.

The pupils, Eliza Withers-Clarke, 13, Aciram Burgess, 13, Harriet Theisen, 14, Denim Cann, 14 and Grace Peterson, 13, said they decided to support the Reading Clinic because literacy skills were vital.

Eliza said: “My sisters and my brother went to the Reading Clinic. I have never gone to the clinic myself, but my family have been involved.

“We were looking for someone to support, and when we thought of this, it all just fell into place.”

Aciram added: “Literacy is very important, even for young children. A lot of adults say they wish they had read more when they were young because it became really important in their later lives.

“It’s something that will help people get a start for their future careers.”

The pupils came together as part of a school project designed to make a community contribution.

The group chose to help the Reading Clinic and, in addition to volunteering at tag days, they organised a movie night at their school.

Eliza said: “We were told to find an organisation for our community project that we thought would be good to help.

“We sat down and asked what we could do.

“Glenn Faries, the executive director of the Reading Clinic, told us about the training programme and we set out to fund one tutor, but made enough for two.”

Denim added that reading ability was crucial as it helped to widen people’s perspectives on the world.

He said: “When you read a book, it gives you a chance to see things another way, feel other people’s emotions.”

Harriet added: “I love the stories, and reading is something that helps you in your everyday life. Even things as simple as signs.”

Dr Faries said the charity was delighted to get the support of the Somersfield team.

He said: “The nice thing about the idea that they had was that basically they were raising funds for people to take the tutor training course.

“They are supplying funding that will actually train the tutors so they can spread that out over a much greater area.

“Instead of a scholarship for one student, this is going to help two tutors who will help a lot of children.”