Are you looking to make a difference this summer? Does your high schooler or middle schooler have volunteer hours they need to fulfill by the start of the new school year? You have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of many young students this summer by participating in the reading program at Montclaire Elementary.
For the past three summers, I have been involved with DEAR time by being a reader and a volunteer coordinator. By giving only 30 minutes of your day to a child, you get so much more in return. The students are loving, eager, and so appreciative of the time invested with them. When the program ends, I truly miss these sweet children.
My middle schooler has also been involved (middle schoolers must be accompanied by an adult but can read one-on-one with a student). I have seen how reading with students positively impacts him, teaching him philanthropy, kindness, patience, and so much more. The program is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children that they too can give back to our neighbors. On a personal level, I love how these small commitments of time have allowed he and I to have intentional bonding. The DEAR program has become one of our summer highlights and hope it becomes one of yours too.
All about DEAR Time and DEAR Time Partners
What is DEAR time?
– DEAR stands for “Drop Everything and Read.”
– During this 30-minute time slot – 11:15-11:45 a.m. (please arrive at 11:05 to get the name of your child and to select a book) – the children at Freedom School do drop everything and read. Some of them are matched up with tutors who are able to give them some individualized attention.
How many children would I be matched up with?
We’ve experimented in past summers and found that one-on-one is the best ratio.
How old are the children?
There are three age groups: Level 1 are rising kindergarteners-rising 2nd graders, Level 2 are rising 3rd-5th graders, and Level 3 are middle school students.
Do I need to be there every day?
We would love it if you could come very day and hope you will come as often as you can. But, there is no minimum volunteer requirement.
Do I need to sign up ahead of time for specific dates?
Please make every effort to sign up ahead of time. It’s helpful for the coordinators daily planning, but it’s not necessary.
Do I need to bring my own book?
No. During DEAR time we use books that are matched to each child’s reading level which maximizes the reading experience.
How will I know which books to pick for the child?
DEAR time coordinators will give you the child’s reading level and direct you to the collection of books appropriate for that child.
Will I be working with the same child?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you are able to be at DEAR time several days in a row, we might ask you to work with the same child on consecutive days. If you are volunteering on a more “drop-in” basis, we may ask you to work with different children. As always, let DEAR time coordinators know your preferences and we will do our best to accommodate them, with the understanding that helping the children with their reading skills is our first priority.
Do I read or listen?
You will mainly be listening to the children read. You might alternate pages if you sense that the child is particularly tired or unmotivated. Modeling how to read the text and then having the children repeat it is a particularly good idea with some of the younger children. Buddy reading in different, funny voices can also be a fun experience if the child is reading the text well. The primary purpose of DEAR time is to give these young readers an opportunity to practice and maintain their reading skills.
What should I do besides listen?
– We are focusing on both reading ability (the ability to pronounce words) and reading comprehension (the ability to make sense of what is being read).
– Since it is possible for a child to be able to read words without comprehending them, you might ask some vocabulary and reading comprehension questions while you are reading and when a book/page/chapter is finished.
– We will be providing some “helpful hints” for DEAR time partners, based on some wonderful suggestions from the Augustine Literacy Project. These suggestions will be e-mailed to DEAR time partners prior to Freedom School, as well as available on-site each day of Freedom School.
Sign up to volunteer at here.
The DEAR reading program begins on June 18th and concludes on July 28th. There are also other volunteer opportunities associated with the Freedom School to sign up for using the link above. Your hearts will be warmed by the loving appreciation from everyone at the Montclair Freedom School. Hope to see you there!
Montclaire Elementary is located at 5801 Farmbrook Drive Charlotte, NC 28210 (conveniently located off of Tyvola near the Marion Diehl Center).