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April 25, 2016

The more that you read, the more things you will know

Back to National Volunteer Week blog

By: Zahra Massicotte, volunteer reading partner in New York, NY
Pearson employee, in partnership with #ProjectLiteracy

Dr. Seuss had it right: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

The second and third graders at PS 3 in Brooklyn, NY are certainly going places and taking me along on their journeys. I have been fortunate to be able to volunteer at my neighborhood school through an organization called Reading Partners. I was introduced to Reading Partners through Pearson, and I am impressed by the amazing job they do in structuring each session as well as developing a curriculum that truly engages students in reading. The standard structure for our tutorial sessions is for the student to choose a book that interests him/her, and I read aloud from that book for the first 10 minutes of our session. Students have a specific assignment to complete, which includes an objective for the reading and vocabulary words to learn. We review those first, and then the student reads aloud. Lastly, we fill out a worksheet together.

I am amazed at how excited and eager the students are to learn and engage with a stranger. I have had the chance to work with a variety of students, and I love how they all become wrapped up in and curious about the stories and characters. They don’t even realize how much they are learning!

When I first started biking over to PS 3 to tutor, I was intimidated by the 45 minute tutorial session with each student. I quickly found out that the time flies, and I’m always wishing I could stay longer. Now, whenever I have time in my schedule, I try to fit in a Reading Partners session.

In a recent tutoring session, the lesson was about inferences, and the student drew a connection before I had figured it out myself!  The session started as usual: I read aloud, the student and I went over key vocabulary words and topics for the day, and then the student dove into her reading. We were both hooked by the story, and when I stopped her to ask questions about key words, we used clues to figure it out together. Based on these clues, she was able to draw conclusions and infer how the story would end. I was so impressed.

Witnessing real, tangible change and learning happen in every session is amazing. I am excited to see the places these kids will go!

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with Reading Partners! Share your story of volunteering on our website or use #ProudReadingPartner on social media.

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