How has it Been Received by the Community?
What indicators do we have to measure how Rainbow Readers has been received?
Primarily, throughout the process of running Rainbow Readers, we gauged Rainbow Reader’s reception and success in Hamilton South estate by regularly checking in with families regarding how they were finding being part of the program. Comments parents made, (either when we were out on the estate for Storytime, or when we specifically dropped in to ask for their feedback) were always insightful and informed the further evolution of Rainbow Readers.
Most conversations with parents saw them praise the program highly, with the few negative comments mostly being around a family’s disappointment that they haven’t been getting their ‘favourite’ volunteer reader.
"I had no idea. I thought he would be too young to be interested in books, but he sees the Rainbow Readers coming and goes mental! Once they start to spread out their rug he loves to pull all the corners out, smooth them down, and wriggle in to get comfortable. Once the readers start looking like moving on he lays down taking up as much room as he can on the rug, and making it as hard as possible for them to get him off it, in protest to them going." Rainbow Reader Carer of *Kaleb 12 mths
She used to hate to have to wait for them to finish reading with the kids across the way, so now that we all sit down together it is heaps better. Except that she wants to jostle the boys for prime possie on the rug and she’s only half their age" Rainbow Reader Parent of *Bonnie 13mths
"I just bought her $40 worth of books for Christmas. There’s no way I would have done that before the Rainbow Readers started coming, but you should see her – she loves books now. We hardly have the TV on anymore – she just sits and reads to herself, chatting away and giggling." Rainbow Readers mother of *Jasmine 2 yrs
We were also made aware by many residents and agencies we came across (but who were not directly involved with the program), that they thought Rainbow Readers was a tremendous initiative, and that it should be available everywhere for every child.
The other telltale sign that the Rainbow Readers program has been positively received by the Hamilton South estate community is its growth. The first group of 6 Rainbow Reader volunteers started in Oct 07 and by Dec 08 we had had such an overwhelming response from families (wanting the volunteers to spend longer with them, and/or wanting them to visit a second day per week) that a second and then third group of volunteers were trained.