Volunteer to read to children through local Reading Pals program

275-READING-PALThe Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of St. Johns County are inviting Historic City News readers to volunteer for their expanding Reading Pals program.

Instilling an early love for reading in children is crucial for future success in school.

“It is so exciting when you see children learn, that letters make words and words turn into stories,” said volunteer Reading Pal Karen Brown. “I love to make books fun; if you can make children laugh, you can get them interested in learning.”

Early Learning Coalition Reading Pals are matched with local preschool centers and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program places readers in Head Start and VPK classrooms to read once a week to children.  Recently the Head Start program added six new classrooms and volunteers are urgently needed.

Reading Pals volunteers will learn the following skills:

  • how to choose age-appropriate books
  • child development the attention span of preschoolers
  • presenting books to preschoolers
  • promoting early literacy through phonetic reading

Studies show that the best opportunity to influence a child’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when the most rapid period of brain growth occurs.

“Pull out a puppet, wear a silly nose, speak in different voices,” Brown told local reporters.  “You have nothing to lose but your dignity, and just have a good time reading.”

Training for the new Reading Pals will be on Thursday, September 8th, from 10:00 a.m. – noon at the St. Augustine Record Building located at 1 News Place, St. Augustine, FL 32086.

To register or for more information about this training, contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator at 904-342-2267.