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Maurie Geer

Maurie takes reading to new heights

Monday 13 May

Maurie Geer, a retired teacher and psychologist from Bairnsdale, is continuing his passion for teaching as a volunteer in the Bairnsdale Library’s adult literacy program.


His 32 years as a teacher started at Paynesville Primary School in 1957 and he declares that he loved the job. Maurie has spent the past nine months as a volunteer assisting adult participants in the free adult literacy class.


“Many people have a bad experience at school and just never learn how to read which makes getting a higher paid job or even reading letters from the government almost impossible,” Mr Geer said.


“I put people on my ‘Tattslotto schedule’ by giving participants rewards and praise at each stage and eventually tapering off as they have the confidence to keep reading and teach themselves. The feeling of failure at school can be multiplied by bullying and isolation, some children just never learn to read!”


The one-on-one program enables participants to learn to read and build self-esteem to continue learning.


Maurie recalls a former student who learnt to read the Herald-Sun in six months. He later passed this former student on the way to work with the paper under his arm.


“It was an incredible feeling to see this highly motivated student achieve success,” Mr Geer said.


The adult literacy program is held at Bairnsdale Library each Wednesday from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm and is hosted in partnership with GELLA (Gippsland East Learn Local Alliance). If you or someone you know would benefit from these free sessions, phone the library on 5152 4225 for more information and how and to join.


The State Library of Victoria say 14 per cent of adults (almost 2.4 million Australians – over half a million Victorians) are at the very lowest end of the literacy scale. People at or below literacy Level 1 have difficulty reading and comprehending simple documents and written instruction. Skill Level 3 is regarded as a suitable minimum for coping with the increasing and complex demands of modern life and work.


National Volunteer Week, May 20-26, the theme is “Making a world of difference” and Council’s volunteers certainly live up to that sentiment, supporting programs in the libraries, youth services, visitor information centres and more.


 Maurie Geer

Teacher and psychologist Maurie Geer volunteers in the adult literacy program at Bairnsdale Library each Wednesday.


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