Why I Volunteer:
Before I learned to read, I was at the mercy of others to read to me. I didn’t like that so much so I insisted on being taught so that I could do it on my own... I was five years old. My sister taught me while we were commuting to and from school with our mom, who was a teacher.
Once I learned how to read, I loved it. My sister is two years older than I am, and I would read whatever she read as soon as she was done with it. My dad once took the TV away for a year as punishment for bad grades (my sister’s, not mine) and I barely realized it was gone. I would often read with the help of a flashlight late into the night.
I still hate to come to the end of a really good book. If I let myself, I would lose days just to read a book or two a week. When I was young, I would re-read books multiple times (I’ve read "Roots" three times) to re-experience how good I felt losing myself in a particularly engaging story.
I realize that not everyone has the same passion for reading (especially in the age of technology), but I can’t imagine not enjoying reading at all. I also can’t imagine seeing books as the enemy, or boring, or something connected to not feeling good about myself. But for children who have fallen behind their grade levels, or aren't doing well with reading comprehension, it’s easy for them to decide that reading isn’t their thing.
Everything connected to learning on any level requires reading. Whether it’s on a tablet, a computer or a book, reading is the door to knowledge, and every state in the nation has large percentages of students who are unable to read at grade level. I want to have a hand in reducing that number.
I was drawn to Reading Partners because the time commitment is easy (45 min once a week), and you get to work one-on-one with a student for an entire semester/school year. You follow a simple curriculum and get to see the child progress as you move through the different exercises. And the best part is that they allow the kids to choose which books they would like to read, and have a program for taking home books to read.
And I’m learning things too. Or rather re-learning things I‘ve forgotten along the way. There’s nothing quite like the pressure of having to try to remember how to define a marsupial to a 4th grader and drawing a complete blank on what it is even though you KNOW what it is!
About the Author: Saranah Holmes is the founder of the Daily Do Good. When she's not busy turning DDG into the greatest thing ever to happen to the nonprofit community, or volunteering with Reading Partners, Saranah enjoys curling up with a good book.... anything from chick lit to memoirs. The best perk of any job she's ever had was when she worked on the Hill and could order any book she wanted from the Library of Congress...hand delivered and picked up with one phone call :)