For a lot of people, reading is a favorite pastime. Book lovers can’t wait to get their nose into the next great literary piece and take their mind on an adventure. If that sounds like your child, ask them if they have ever thought about taking their love of reading out into the community. There are many people, young and old, who would love for your child to volunteer to read to them! Below, you’ll find some interesting ways that you and your student can donate time and spread the joy of reading with others.
Become a reading coach at your local school.
There are students in all grade levels that could use help with reading. You could find out if your local elementary, middle, or high school is in need of reading coaches by making a simple phone call to the main office. As a volunteer, you would most likely need to go through a background check but then once that is complete, they will assign you students to work with on a weekly basis. It is a great opportunity to help turn struggling readers into book lovers!
Read to seniors at a nursing home or assisted living.
As people age, their eyesight often worsens to the point where it may be hard, if not impossible, for them to read. Something as simple as reading the major news stories from the daily newspaper would mean a lot to them and have an impact on their daily life. You could also ask what some of their favorite books or authors were and check out some of those books from your local library to read to them. Seniors love anything that reminds them of years past and books are a great way to do that! Contact your local assisted living or nursing home to see if there are any residents that would love to sit with you or your child once a week and read.
Have older siblings read to the younger ones.
Not only does this give you a little break, but it helps your older children learn how to help younger children sound out words and develop a love for reading. Encourage your older child to be very animated when reading aloud to their younger siblings. This keeps the younger sibling more engaged and helps with reading comprehension. If you have an older child who is struggling with reading, they may feel more confident starting with books aimed at younger children to get their rhythm, learn more about putting emphasis on certain words, and further develop an understanding for how sentences flow. Once their confidence level has built up, they may be more encouraged to read grade-level books with you.
Volunteer to read in local hospitals.
When someone is in the hospital, they’re stuck in bed, staring at the wall for days or weeks at a time. It can get monotonous quick! Hospitals, particularly children’s hospitals, have different people that go around and provide various life enrichment services for those who are hospitalized. They may welcome your services and encourage you to read to various patients. Books take the mind to a million different places and could prove to be good “mental therapy” for someone who is stuck in the hospital
Be a reader for the blind.
Imagine a world where you couldn’t see. Couldn’t see the beauty around you or even where you were walking. Couldn’t see to read a book. That would be tough, to say the least. While there are books in braille, there are also organizations that pair people up with someone who can read to them. These readings may be a book, magazine, newspaper, or even simply their mail. Having someone read aloud to them helps the blind in their daily living and is very rewarding for both the reader and the person being read to. Contact a local organization that helps the blind to ask if there are reading opportunities in your area.
There are many, many ways that your 5-12th grader can get involved in the community as a reading volunteer! We hope that we gave you some great ideas to get them started with their volunteer work. Reading truly transports people to another place and time and takes the mind on a great adventure, so spread the love of reading around!
How do you encourage your child to have a love for reading? We’d love to hear from you so pop over to our Facebook page and let us know!