We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 10 – 16!
Meet Alison Bullock, an integral part of the team that runs French Immersion Tutors at Forest Heights Community Library.
Bilingual volunteers help French immersion students with their homework every Thursday afternoon from 4 – 5:30 pm.
It’s a volunteer position that’s perfectly suited to Alison, who is a Digital Literacy Support Teacher at Waterloo Region District School Board. That means she’s a technology coach for teachers and students, helping them integrate technology into the curriculum. She has a workload of 25 elementary schools, about half of which are French immersion schools.
“I’ve always been a huge believer in libraries. I’ve always appreciated that it’s there for me, with free books and community events,” she says.
As a child, Alison went to KW Bilingual School, and took French immersion at Elmira District Secondary School. Volunteering is one way she keeps her language ability strong.
“I have to speak and think in French at least once a week, so that’s good to keep my fluency going, too,” she says.
Alison and the other team members help students with specific homework assignments, or use technology to practise French in a more informal way if there’s no homework to be done. And she’s taking a leadership role by training other volunteers in how to use online games, Tumble Books, and apps such as TFO, to help integrate technology into tutoring.
“We’re morphing and changing how we do things,” she says, noting that it’s not always beneficial for a child who just spent all day at school to come to the library and sit at a table for tutoring. That’s why volunteers make an effort to sit on couches or the floor and use interactive learning tools.
Alison notes that French Immersion Tutors can be particularly helpful for families with parents who speak little or no French. For the students, “just to sit and speak, to think and process in that language can be beneficial,” she says.
Alison has also trained to be a shelf reader. During the summer months, she plans to help us keep our French language resources in good shape on days when rain keeps her from the golf course.
Alison, thank you for all you do to contribute to your community!
FRENCH IMMERSION TUTORS
Thursdays at Forest Heights until May 12
1/2 hour sessions
4 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5 pm
Register for each session you wish to attend
Learn more about language resources at KPL
including books and DVDs in French for children and adults