I began volunteering as a reader for the Read-Aloud Volunteer Program shortly after retiring from a career in maintenance and construction. Reading aloud with children has been a pleasure every year. I consider this program a win-win for the children and the readers. The children clearly benefit from the positive relationships with the readers as they develop their love for reading and books. Readers enjoy benefits beyond just sharing their time with children and helping to nurture reading skills. We also enjoy the books that we read! Learning about our world, the joy of a good story and sharing a laugh are just a few of the delights readers enjoy. I have invited friends to join Read-Aloud and several have become readers. I am grateful to be a part of this valuable program.
When I retired from teaching in the WCCUSD, it seemed like a natural volunteer opportunity for me to join Read-Aloud. At Dover elementary, the entire group of Wednesday volunteers is so devoted to bringing the joy of reading into young lives.
The best part of the Read Aloud Volunteer Program for me is the special time it creates for the reader and listener to share together, enjoying books and reading, awakening imaginations, and exploring literature.
Marilyn Nye, the program’s creator, recruited me, saying: “It’s a great chance to do good work in the world after you retire.” She was right, but she didn’t tell me how much fun it would be.
I enjoy the students. They are the best of company.
And I’ll never forget Nancy, one of my past students. Her teacher, just getting to know her at the beginning of the school year, described her to me as someone shy, needing to be drawn out, and not sure of herself academically. One day, reading to her from a book about a frog family that visited a “fancy” restaurant, Nancy said to me: “Look, Mr Reuter. If you take the “f” off of “fancy” and put an “n” there, it spells my name.” Some shyness, some academic uncertainty!
Nancy is one of the smartest people I’ve spent time with, letter perfect in both Spanish and English, and now a real book lover.
Good work in the world indeed, and what fun. Come join in it!