Once a week during the school year, I leave the ringing phones, e-mails, and demands at my desk and travel to a local school where I meet up with my reading partner for about 45 minutes during his lunch. He is a very bright young man, but in the beginning, he wasn't a great reader. When we started, I read to him, but over time and with encouragement, he started to read aloud to me. So the simple act of reading with this child has improved his reading level, given him greater confidence to participate in the classroom because he's engaged and thereby improves his classroom behavior. This time we spend together is the highlight of my week! Here are some startling statistics - if a child isn't reading at their grade level by 3rd Grade, we will most likely not see that child graduate from high school. There are some states that predict their prison populations by 3rd grade reading abilities!
I had a wonderful time working through this group to read to the students. There was a large number of students and readers and EBW did a great job of keeping everyone on track. I was also impressed how EBW adapted to our needs to make the process of getting in to the school and splitting the groups to make the sessions more productive. The kids were great and really not only enjoyed our coming every week by I believe benefitted from the program.
When Everybody Wins! requested volunteers at the company where I work, I signed up. I passionately believe that without the ability to read, and enjoy reading, one cannot fully develop or function in society. That was more than 10 years ago, and I continue to volunteer with this wonderful organization. I have worked with many students over the years, and have seen them mature through grade school. The ultimate outcome is not always positive, but the time I spend with my student is rewarding and entertaining for both of us. If my enthusiasm for reading is contagious, my students will learn about the enormous opportunities that books offer. Their world will open up and they will find knowledge, an escape, new ideas or get insight into how others live around the world. EW makes this volunteer opportunity convenient--they provide the transportation for my one lunch hour per week session. Everybody Wins! is a practical yet optimistic organization, and I believe we are making a difference in the lives of our students.