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Reading to Kids News

Reading to Kids to Celebrate 1,000th Volunteer at September Reading Clubs!

Reading to Kids, a volunteer organization formed in 1999 to provide elementary school children in the Los Angeles area with a brighter future through monthly reading clubs, will celebrate its 1,000th volunteer at its September 8 Reading Clubs. This milestone is particularly significant for the group, given that Reading to Kids was created entirely by a small group of volunteers only two years ago. From a start of servicing 20 children at its monthly reading clubs, the volunteers at Reading to Kids now service approximately 400 children each month. In honor of reaching the 1,000 volunteer milestone, many of the donors and supporters of Reading to Kids will be present at the September Reading Clubs, and several computers will be raffled off to some lucky students.

Reading to Kids is a unique program that attracts hundreds of children to both Gratts Elementary School and Magnolia Elementary School in Los Angeles on the second Saturday of every month. The children, most of whom are English language learners, are read different stories and engaged in intellectual games and craft projects each month by the volunteers. The goal of these exercises is to increase the children?s reading skills as well as their interest in books. "Reading to Kids has increased the opportunity for Gratts students to read for pleasure," remarked Raul Fernandez, the Volunteer Training Coordinator for the organization and former principal of Gratts Elementary School. "In addition to motivating the children to read, this program also draws the kids to school on a Saturday, a time when many of them would otherwise be at home watching television."

The Reading Clubs begin at 9 a.m. with volunteer training. After the training, volunteers are assigned to students and the reading sessions begin. This is followed by an interactive project related to the book that is being read. At the end of the session, children are provided with a book of their own as a reward for attending. In conjunction with this program for the children, parents are offered workshops on how to be good readers to their children at home.

The National Commission of Reading has stated that the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. Reading to Kids incorporates this practice, and also takes into account leading research stating that programs dedicated to improving the academic success of children are most effective when they consistently incorporate the school, family and members of the community. Reading to Kids was founded by a small group of volunteers, school teachers and school administrators who shared the common goal of improving reading literacy among the elementary school children of Los Angeles. The group operates through the assistance of volunteers and from donations from various organizations, foundations and corporate supporters. To volunteer for Reading to Kids or for more information about making a donation or getting involved, log on to www.readingtokids.org or call (213) 388-0008.

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