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!
It’s that time of year again! The leaves are falling, turkey is to be had, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to turn your family’s attention away from football and the big feast and figure out ways to “give thanks” and give back to the community. Often times, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget about those who are less fortunate than us. Sit down with your family and brainstorm various ways that your family can come together and give back to those in need.
To get the ideas flowing, we’ve jotted down some wonderful ways that your family can start to give thanks. Does your family already have a way that they give back and give thanks each year? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. Let’s hear all the great ways that My Virtual Academy helps the community now and all year!
Fundraise for a charity
We’re all familiar with the Salvation Army bell ringers that are at storefronts during the holidays. They are hard at work in the frigid temperatures to raise money for those in need. Your child could do the same! Now, we don’t mean have your children ring bells or ask strangers for money, but maybe leave flyers on your neighbor’s doors stating that you are doing a bottle and can drive with the money benefiting a charity of your choosing. Or, you could go door-to-door asking for donations from those neighbors that you know. They also could ask bring up their fundraising endeavor to relatives and see if they will contribute.
Another fun, creative way to fundraise is to have your kids make holiday cards that they could sell individually or as a bundle of 5 or 10, with the money going towards the charity. Sometimes people like to feel that they are getting something in return for a donation and this would be a creative way to do so. If you choose to fundraise, please always make sure an adult is present when going around your neighborhood. It helps keep everyone safe and lets the homeowner know it’s a legit fundraiser.
Clothing and/or food drive
How many of us have old clothes lying around or clothes that their teen rapidly grew out of during their umpteenth growth spurt? Yes, us too! Why not hold a clothing drive? Shelters are ALWAYS in need of clothing, toiletries, shoes, food, etc. There are a ton of shelters, so all clothing sizes collected could certainly be used and appreciated. You would be surprised at the amount of clothing that people would donate to your cause when they hear you are collecting it. It saves them a trip to the thrift store and helps them thin down their closet!
In addition to clothes, food is of utmost importance for those in need. Collecting canned goods and other non-perishable items is easy, as most people have some that they don’t mind giving, especially during this holiday season.
Making and delivering meals
Volunteering in soup kitchens is a great thing and those kitchens always appreciate the extra help, but everyone and their brother volunteers there during the holidays. You’ll be tripping over other volunteers while you’re there so why not take your good intentions but redirect them to those surrounding you that might need a warm meal too? If you know of someone who might have handicaps that make it hard to make a meal or is elderly and could use some assistance, why not make a little extra at mealtime and make them up a plate? They would be happy to have the warm meal and the relieved burden that they didn’t have to worry about what to cook that night for dinner. Have a relative or neighbor who might be lonely? Why not invite them over to dinner? A hot meal and friendly conversation goes a long way and could make their day.
Handwritten notes of thanks
‘Tis the season for “giving thanks” so why not put the pen to paper and write a note of thanks? Have each person in your family write down people who made an impact on their lives or who simply did something nice or thoughtful that deserves recognition. The list could include teachers, coaches, mentors, tutors, siblings, parents, bosses, neighbors, etc.
You can either make the cards out of paper at home or purchase blank cards inexpensively at your local arts and craft supply store. Have each person pen a thoughtful letter giving thanks to that person in their life. Then, simply drop them in the mail with postage or hand-deliver them for an extra personal touch. We often think of things we wish we had said to someone once they are gone, so take this as a golden opportunity to let them know how much they mean to you.
November is a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season so start the season off right by lending a hand. Getting your kids involved teaches them from their youth that helping others in your community is an outstanding thing to do. After all, we know what they say, “it takes a village.”
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