Once again Outreach participated in the summer reading program in partners with the Blue Ridge Schools. Each summer about a week after school is out volunteers meet with student’s age kindergarten through 4th grade to help them with reading skills. These students are referred to the program by their teachers as needing help improving reading skills or maintaining skills they have attained throughout the school year.
This is a very rewarding experience for both the volunteer and the student. Some great friendships have been formed between students and volunteers over the six weeks that they work together. Volunteers listen to the student read and helps with pronunciation and comprehension of what has been read.
At the end of the six weeks students are given a “goody bag” of items provided by local businesses. Some of these goodies have been ice cream cones, books (of course, not the most popular) pizza, subway meals and cookies, and video rentals to name a few. We try to encourage the students to continue reading throughout the summer (i.e. the book gift) and hope they will develop a love for reading and not see it as a chore. We have had small numbers (5) and large numbers (12) participate in this program.
Next spring as school is winding down look for my plea for volunteers for Reading Buddies and offer to help if you like for someone to read to you. As I have said, it is a very rewarding time for both the volunteer and student. I feel it helps the student not feel they have to do it (read) when there is someone besides a teacher or parent urging them to sit down with a book.