Student2Student (S2S)

S2s digital photo

We match students who need to improve their reading with peer buddies.

How will the funding be spent?

The funds will purchase a minimum of 100 tablets with sim card connectivity, a pre-purchased sim card for the life of the program and a hard wearing cover to allow us to loan these tablets to families that might be experiencing issues with access to a suitable device and/or problems with internet connectivity. Students will return the devices after the program is complete for use in future years. We have found that access to tablets and data is a barrier to participation for many families.

How will the project be delivered?

The Smith Family currently funds a Program Specialist to roll-out student2student in SA, alongside Family Partnership team members who liaise with our families to identify suitable candidates who would benefit from the program. The purchase of tablets would allow us to shift participants to the digital model – providing significant benefits including instant access to a greater range of books, read-along videos, a shared screen, and voice-calling capabilities.

How many people will directly benefit from this project?

Minimum of 100 disadvantaged students (year 3-8) per year.

How will you measure the impact of this project?

For more than a decade student2student has been annually evaluated and has consistently realised reading improvements in participants. Reading improvement is assessed through the implementation of a pre and post program reading test and surveys with all participants (readers, buddies and volunteer supervisors), including feedback from parents.

In 2016, a detailed analysis of data for 728 student2student participants was carried out, with results showing:
• 95% of students improved their reading
• 90% of students report that they enjoy reading more now
• 88% of students agreed they read more having completed the program
• 89% students agreed the program helped them feel more confident with school work
• 94% of parents reported children felt better about themselves
• 95% of parents report their child’s reading has improved

Before introducing S2S nationally, The Smith Family trialled and independently evaluated the program for three years in NSW. Traditionally, the program works using hard-copy books and mobile phones. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of implementation, we are in the process of transitioning to a digital model of delivery.

How will the project fit this year's theme of ‘Connect, Grow, Build, Belong’?

Our student2student program matches students who are up to 2 years behind in their reading with buddies who help and encourage them. They read together, 2-3 times per week for 18 weeks.

Peer support is central to the program’s success, as evidence indicates that one of the best ways to support students who have reading difficulties is for the help to come from others near their own age. These connections lift reading skills, in-turn building self-esteem, confidence and a sense of belonging.

Organisation details

Organisation Name

The Smith Family

What does this organisation do?

The Smith Family is a children's charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves. One in seven Australian children and young people live in poverty, which can limit their choices, opportunities and outcomes in life. Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child delivers long-term positive benefits for them, their family and potentially generations to come.

The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program provides emotional, practical and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education. Our learning support and mentoring programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves. Support starts in the early years of learning development and continues through primary and high school, to help build skills, knowledge, motivation, self-belief and a network of positive relationships with parents, peers and significant others. This support increases a young person’s likelihood of remaining engaged with school, completing Year 12 and developing realistic and informed study and career pathways for life beyond the school gate. We provide targeted support that begins early in a child’s life and continues in a balanced long-term way throughout their first two decades. For the same overall investment, this approach is far more effective than concentrating support on a particular period of a young person’s life. This approach results in increases in high school graduation and university enrolments and decreases in welfare reliance and criminal convictions.

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