In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 23 – 29), I will be sharing my experience as a Scholastic Reads volunteer. Scholastic Reads is the company’s largest volunteer program that sends employees into NY public schools to read aloud to first and second- grade classrooms.
As a Scholastic Reads volunteer, I am provided with 3-4 books per month that are central to a seasonal theme or a holiday. For example, the books for April were springtime- themed. Every month, I visit the same second- grade classroom at PS 38 in Manhattan and sit with the class to read all of the books provided, which is not as easy as it sounds considering there are more than 15 kids in the classroom. Before I can even say “Good morning,” the kids are shouting my way about what books I’ll be reading. Before I begin reading, I usually ask the class some questions, like: “What holidays occur during this month?” “What do you think this story will be about?” During the reading, I pause to clarify on details or define big words that I think may confuse them. Sometimes they surprise me by already knowing the answer. After the reading, I typically ask them if they liked the story and to share their thoughts. This part is always my favorite because the answers are always funny and unexpected! Once the kids have shared their thoughts on the books we read, I distribute an activity. For April, the activity was “Draw a colorful umbrella.” The students always enjoy the activity just as much as the reading. It allows them time to chat with me and usually request things like free books and crayons, or an extra sheet of paper!
I can’t say that I volunteer enough on my personal time but volunteering as a Scholastic Reader is fulfilling; it reminds me of how such a small deed can bring a bit of joy and ease to someone’s day. Reading aloud might seem like a small task but it’s obvious that the kids enjoy having someone “new” around who cares enough to read to them. That’s the joy in volunteering!