2017-18 Readers and Leaders starts wth a full group of volunteers
What do you get when you are missing an "M?" Well for Mrs. Emily Matthews' class you get a "Onster" not a "Monster" who is no longer "mean" and decides to help kids instead of scare them. This was one of the books read to the Horace Mann first grade class by their guest and volunteer reader Jackie Lewis.
The United Way program "Readers and Leaders" is a program where volunteers come to classrooms to read to the class or smaller groups if the teacher thinks some students need more individual attention.
Mathews said it's a way for students to work on reading skills. "It gives the kids another opportunity to hear someone else read besides me or their parents and sometimes even lets them have a chance to read to them and practice their reading skills," she said. "When someone new is coming to read to them they all wanted to take their turn to get to read with our guest." Building the love for reading starts around this age, according to Matthews. "When they are first graders they are very impressionable when it comes to reading because they are getting better at it and they are really learning to master that," she said. "So I think when someone else comes and is excited to listen and read with them they get excited and feel encouraged. I think that at this age is where we need to start building that foundation because if they don't start that reading now, and reading at home often then we'll have to back track and it will be hard to pick up when they are older."
Patty Jennings, program coordinator for the United Way said they go for 12 weeks a seamster coming out to read with 33 classes through Duncan Public Schools. Jennings said they had a great response from the community. "We've been looking since June, we started early, we wanted to have volunteers on board prior to school starting, we had a training class and that was well attended," Jennings said. "Several people signed up for volunteers and so we started the school year about a month ago and we were getting closer and closer every week. Well, when we kicked off our reading campaign yesterday by the close of business - we had all the volunteers, we had all the classrooms full so I'm happy to report that."
Jennings said getting people to come into read with the children was more beneficial then some might think, not only for their read skills but their view of where they live. "Not every child is being read to (at home) now they are read to in school - but it's so nice to bring in community people into your classroom, the teacher can't do it by herself, the children need to know "Hey this is a man that I have seen at the bank, and he is in here reading to me" or "This is a lady I saw at church and she's coming to my room to read to me," she said. "They need to know how important reading is and to see that example being lived out in front of them."
The children and the teachers aren't the only ones who are encouraged. "The readers can't tell me enough about how they are being blessed - how the children hug 'em and they thank them for coming," Jennings said. "Once that volunteer gets in the classroom and experiences the joy of those children reacting to what they are doing, you can't hardly keep them away, they can't wait to come back."
Readers and Leaders is dedicated to impacting student success.
Readers and Leaders is a mentoring program designed to improve listening, speaking, reading and comprehension skills in young children. Volunteers meet with a Pre-K, Kindergarten, or First Grade class once a week for 30 minutes sharing a book and modeling the joy of reading.
If you want to impact the lives of children in our community and be involved in their success, consider joining our team of volunteer readers.
To get started just contact us! We will send you a volunteer packet, process the required forms, and contact you with further details.
CONTACT US TODAY . Call (580) 255-3648 Monday - Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.