Hampden Street School’s Indie Schryvers and Nelson College student Kobe Brownlee reading together. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Building confidence and friendships through reading


Nelson College and Hampden Street School students have been buddied up under a trial mentorship programme that gets the boys reading while growing their leadership skills.

Nelson College’s learning support aid Jennifer Arai set up the mentorship between year nine and ten students and young primary school children to get both parties’ confidence levels up.

“It’s a nice chance for the young men to do some good for others and it makes them feel good too,” says Jennifer.

The boys meet up in their pairs once a week to read together and often get a run around or draw with one another, too.

On Monday, seven-year-old Indie Schryvers was more interested in drawing chocolate bars with his year nine buddy Kobe Brownlee after their reading session together.

Jennifer says it’s been rewarding to see nominated students go from shy and hesitant to confident young leaders.

“These boys don’t often put themselves out there but once they get going, they find their confidence and enjoy it,” she says.

Hampden Street School learning support coordinator Becs Armstrong says the programme is an exciting proposal and that the often-shy younger pupils can’t wait to get reading with their buddies each week.

Becs says the younger students always leave their reading sessions smiling and often ask “when are the big kids coming back?”.