How long have you been involved with Reading Pals?
This is my third year.
What do you love about ReadingPals?
I love to see the kids bond with their volunteers. Their faces light up and they rush to the door to greet them. The special attention the kids get from their volunteers is priceless and the one on one time is invaluable.
What do you think the biggest impacts the ReadingPals program has for your children (students)?
It’s hard to determine a measurable academic impact because our kids vary so vastly – some learn and retain easily, others have serious delays and struggle with the simplest concepts, but working one on one with an adult gives every child that extra boost. I think even more important is the fact that someone comes once a week to spend time with them and make them feel special. With a class of 19, that’s such a treat for them. Some of our volunteers are incredibly generous and bring treats and gifts, but nothing compares to being singled out, listened to, and valued each week.
How does the program help you as a teacher?
Our kids are taken out during center time, and on those days we can spend more individual time with the remaining children, which is a plus. It’s also helpful for them to get the reinforcement of concepts taught in the classroom.
What difference do you see the program makes for those children who are matched with a ReadingPal?
For any child, there’s a clear benefit to having as many people as possible nurturing and teaching them. Some of our kids need as many positive role models in their lives as they can get. Our volunteers model caring and kindness as well as the value placed on learning.