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Posts Tagged ‘literacy’

Mid-morning I left work as usual in the van to go to the school where I read with my 1st grade buddy during his lunch.

The point of the program is to promote literacy. It doesn’t necessarily mean the student has to read but the idea is to just have a mentoring like relationship and read to the child so that it promotes reading and literacy overall. Many of these students don’t have english speaking parents but seem to love reading so it’s just another way to give them a little time to do so.

So far every time I have met with my student I read the books and he eats lunch and he sometimes comments or ask questions but has not once tried to read a word on the page.

We were told specifically not to force the children to read but if they want to they can and that’s fantastic. After reading probably 6 children books and 1 whole Wimpy Kid diaries book, he hasn’t tried.

Today he picked out a book and we sat down. I opened the book and was about to say the first word and he started reading.

He read the ENTIRE BOOK! Granted there was only 2 sentences per few pages but he not only read those he also read the words in the many pictures.

It’s like we had some sort of break-through. I don’t know what it is, maybe he is now comfortable enough to read aloud with me? Whatever it is, I feel like a proud mama 🙂

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My daily words of wisdom: Never underestimate the power of a 7-year-old.

Yesterday morning I woke up in somewhat of a crappy mood.

The combination of being tired (I kept waking up in the middle of the night) and knowing my day was going to be packed with meetings and stressors I wanted to crawl back into my bed.

But Power Lunch was on my Wednesday schedule. I mentioned this program before where during lunch once a week (or when my partner can do her share, every other week) I am shuttled to an elementary school in a “bad part of Boston” (it’s actually a wonderful school and a pretty area but it’s known for violence/few opportunities) and I read with a 1st grader at his school during his lunch break.

I’ll be honest, yesterday morning the idea of being out of the office for over an hour and a half. I wasn’t feeling it.

And then I got to his classroom to pick him up to take him to the auditorium where we read together. He ran out to me with a huge grin on his face and immediately started telling me about the snowball fight he and his brother had.

My heart melted. My ovaries may have even ached a little.

We read Diary of A Wimpy Kid The Last Straw for half hour (seriously, he is such a smart kid, he doesn’t want to read the shorter books, he loves this book and apparently already read the first!) and then at the 30 minute mark his attention span usually hits a wall. So we played tik tak toe together for the last few minutes and I let him win twice. (It seemed unfair to beat a 1st grader…)

Sometimes it just takes a little break from reality and a little time with a 7 year-old to cheer you up  🙂

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Without going too much into detail, today was my first volunteer lunch with my assigned little 1st grade boy. I spent 40 minutes getting to know, reading him two books and doing a couple of “literacy” activities.

It was awesome.

I’m so glad I signed up for this. I was totally  nervous at first but the reality is, he was excited to be there, (a tad shy), but I just have to go with it. Some days he may want to read, some day he may be chatty, some days he might not like me. Whatever the case, it feels really nice to take a break in my day, and do something good. I’m rarely around kids and I don’t get to use my traditional “librarian skills” on a daily basis so I think it’s going  to be great. And one lunch every other week is so easy to fit into my work schedule.

It definitely put a positive spin on my day! 🙂

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One thing I have struggled with is wanting to be more involved in volunteer work within my community. I have started to really love Boston and I realize more and more that I want to help it become something even better.

I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.

I’ve been searching for a long time to find a non-profit that I’d be a useful volunteer for. You’d be surprised how many non-profits I found that just don’t exist anymore. Or maybe you wouldn’t actually.

A few really struck me.  Babes Bookin’ It sounded right up my alley. It was a group of women running races to fundraise money for books. They would give a lot of the money to First Book, a larger organization focusing on literacy to then dole out books and resources to other literacy based programs. But Babes BookinIt seems to be non-existent at this point. 😦

The good news is it led me to other areas of volunteer work I did think I could help out with. It’s actually been a struggle since my schedule is hectic and lots of non-profits really just need funds or specific types of volunteers.

And then a volunteer opportunity basically fell into my lap. Through my firm, we can be shuttled once every week (or if you partner up, every other week) to read with a child during their lunch period. The children in this read aloud program are children who have been nominated by their teacher (fast learners, english as a second language, or needs extra help) who also want to be part of the program.

I signed up! In a few weeks I’ll start going once every other week to sit with the same child (I haven’t been matched yet but likely a  k-2nd grader) and we choose books together from the program’s library and read them out loud. I am committed to one full school-year but I can actually continue along with the same child next year and continue following them up through their elementary years.

The people in my firm who have been involved in it before said the kids get really excited about doing it. Sometimes they like to read too, sometimes they eat their lunch and let you read but all in all they enjoy being there. In fact, quite a few of the children mention not having any books at home to read so they really appreciate reading “non-class specific” books.  A few of my co-workers have been following children for the past 4-5 years!

My second opportunity is actually with First Book, the non-profit mentioned above. I had a quick call with one of the chairs and I’m really interested in seeing how I can help. Their goal of promoting literacy is one that is really important to me (yay, I’m really getting to use my librarian skills!). There’s a board meeting I’ll attend next week to see what I can do going forward.

This will likely sound selfish and superficial but throughout highschool and college I used to think of a lot of volunteer work as something I should do, something that’s great for a resume, but I didn’t really enjoy doing it. I honestly  remember getting anxiety and wanting to skip my volunteer work at soup kitchens.

Now I realize if you find volunteer work you’re interested in, it’s really exciting. There’s nothing wrong with finding volunteer work that you enjoy – if anything I think it’ll make me a better volunteer 🙂

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