Volunteers share love of reading
March 8, 2007
Meneley Elementary School and the Douglas County Library have joined forces to create a program to train volunteers to read aloud to kindergarten through fourth-graders.
Share A Book is a pilot program at Meneley that coordinator Bonnie Silsby hopes will catch on in other schools. She has held two workshops to teach the volunteers the same read-aloud strategy.
“It’s important for kids to understand what they’re reading and reading to them is a great way for them to learn,” she said. “Volunteers bring a wealth of various experiences to the kids.”
The people who showed up to participate in Share A Book may or may not have children in the schools where they volunteer. They are stay-at-home mothers and retirees in a range of ages, experiences and interests. One interest they share is the importance of reading.
Thelma Smith moved from the Los Angeles area a few years ago to retire in Carson Valley. She said volunteering is a way to give back to the community.
“The state of California paid for my education from kindergarten until the end of university,” said Smith. “I don’t think they did that so I would stay at home and sit on the couch. If we want to keep our democracy, our children better learn to read.”
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Tammy Schonian, whose youngest child is in ninth grade, has volunteered since her children started school.
“Children shouldn’t pass a grade without learning to read,” said Schonian. “I’m here to help kids with reading to get them on the right track.”
Meneley librarian Dianne Deadrich and librarians from the Douglas County Public Library help the volunteers in book selection for the readings.
“These are people who have a love of books and learning,” said Deadrich. “They’re not just people who need something to do.”
For information on the Share A Book program or how to volunteer, call Meneley at 265-3154 or the Douglas County Public Library at 782-9841.
It is important to let the community know that volunteers are valued and welcome in Douglas County schools, Superintendent Carol Lark said in a recent interview.
“There are a variety of choices for a variety of volunteers,” Lark said about crossing guards, the man who shows up every day at Zephyr Cove Elementary School dressed in a bear suit, parents who help in the classrooms and people who help by making copies in the school office.
“It falls upon the principals to match up the needs of the school with volunteers,” she said.
Contact individual schools for information about becoming a volunteer.