November 18, 2019
Balancing research with reading
Work-life balance is something that is written about frequently. It comes in many forms, in the value you place on the work you do and the balance with activities outside the structure. Let me share with you one thing I do which feels like I am really contributing and finding more balance while helping others succeed.
Reading is essential
I work with Reading Partners for two hours per week helping a young child to read. Reading is essential to success and to expanded life opportunities. The 2018 American National Assessment of Educational Progress study found 35% of fourth graders and 34% of eighth graders performed at or above NAEP Proficient in reading. Presently, with the number of children in the United States who do not learn to read ‘well’ while at school this seems an important thing to focus effort on.
How it works
The Reading Partners program takes a structured learning curriculum, by reader level, based in a specific, public school and then pairs a Reading Partner with a child, who you read with once or twice a week. This allows a relationship to develop, which to me is one of the most valuable parts of the program. You learn to understand what motivates your reader and how to keep them focused. For children in their early years of schooling, concentration seems to be one of the most complex tasks.
To become a reading partner you will spend about 2 hours in an orientation learning the program. Then you will be assigned a child at a local school who you will begin to read with for a semester or school term. When you arrive you will be given the child’s folder with a record of their last Reading Partners meeting and class syllabus. You will then meet your reading partner and begin to enjoy your weekly reading journey together!
Reading (Partners) magic
As a child, reading books was one of the most critical parts of my life. I lived in a small town in a very rural environment, far away from the large world where I would later live my life. What I learned from libraries and books would spur my future and encourage me to keep working toward that next goal. Learning about Europe and the world in rural Australia was like being given access to a magic world. Without this, my options and drive would have been limited.
I had the good fortune to grow up in a culture of reading and believe all children should have the opportunity to read and explore the world around them which opens all the possibilities in front of them. This only happens if we provide our children with the basic skills of life. This is my summary of the Reading Partners mission.
I was drawn to the Reading Partners program because it was structured and well managed. There is a person coordinating all activities at the school and a team behind the scenes at the office. It helps to see the children getting the best support we can offer as a team rather than relying on the individual capabilities of each of the volunteers.
If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Reading Partners in your city. The program is available in many cities across the U.S.. Maybe this can help you in achieving your work-life balance too?
If you can’t read your options are limited, reading opens all doors.
About the author
Michel Jones is CFO and People Leader at OvationMR a New York City based market research firm, which she co-founded in 2016. She provides insights-based management consulting services and is an expert in global HR talent management. She is a regular contributor to the Standard Ovation blog.