Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Note from our Ameri-Corp Member- Cynthia Orozco!

As the Literacy*AmeriCorps member for Reading to Kids, I have had the pleasure of working closely with two of our organization’s partner schools: Esperanza Elementary School during regular class hours and Leo Politi Elementary School for after-school homework help.

I have worked directly with students for the last eight months, and it has been incredible to see the many accomplishments of my students! I have students who are beginning to read when, at the beginning of the year, they were unable to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Many students have really improved on their English language skills and vocabulary. One of the best moments is when a child exhibits real enthusiasm for reading. Many of the students I work with really struggle with reading, and it isn’t particularly fun to read a book when you don’t understand the words in front of you. So when I see a student get excited about reading a new book or a student who begins to attend our reading clubs frequently, I can’t help but feel proud for that student and proud to serve the community.

I am constantly amazed and inspired by the students. I love to talk about current events and social problems with the older students. Most recently, the 5th graders at Politi and I had a great discussion about the recent earthquakes, comparing the big earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and contemplating the problems California would face in the event of an earthquake of a similar magnitude. The kids all have great ideas, experiences, and knowledge to share, and I encourage all of the volunteers at the reading clubs to keep the conversations flowing! It’s a great way for the kids to develop language and communication skills, and I guarantee they have a thing or two to teach you as well!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the June Reading Clubs! There is a really great selection of books for the month's "Super Heroes and Super People" theme that should make for some great discussion!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Volunteer Reader, Jessica Romero and Gratts Elementary Teacher Mr. Salgado

On Monday, February 8th Reading to Kids volunteer Jessica Romero volunteered to be a classroom helper and go to Mr. Salgado's classroom as a reward for being one of our highest recruiting teachers.

The experience proved to be rewarding for everyone involved and both Mr. Salgado and Jessica wrote Reading to Kids to let us know how much the day meant to them.

We were so moved by their e-mails we wanted to share them with everyone:

Good morning Ms. Zwass,

I just wanted to extend my gratitude for having sent Jessica to volunteer in my classroom on Monday, Feb. 8th. Her volunteering in my classroom made an extraordinary difference in my day as she helped relieve some of the work that would have taken hours if not days to do all by myself. With all the cutbacks in the school district, much of the work that was done by others is now having to be done by teachers on top of trying to teach.

My students and I were able to interact with her for a day and enjoyed her company. Having an additional hand in the classroom made a world of difference. Thank you and Jessica for all your help.

With gratitude,
Jose Salgado

4th grade teacher
Gratts Elementary School

Hi Rachel,

I just wanted to say thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to volunteer in a classroom. On Monday, February 8th I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Salgado's 4th class at Gratts Elementary. I have also worked with Ms. Vasquez's Kindergarten class and have also gone in as a reader during the Dr. Seuss Reading Celebration last year and it is always a very fulfilling experience. I am very glad to have found an organization like Reading to Kids which allows me to be active in a cause that is special to me. I personally benefited from an early introduction to reading and it is nice to be able to give back. Now more than ever, especially with the state budget cuts in our educational system, I am very happy to help with the little that I am able to do. It is also an inspiration to see teachers like Mr. Salgado and Ms. Vasquez still willing to make a difference despite the obstacles that they are facing. I would encourage anyone who has some free time to volunteer in a classroom, even a couple hours makes a big difference. It's a win-win situation, they get some much needed help and you go away feeling very good about having done something nice for someone else.

Thanks again Rachel and Reading to Kids for not only inspiring children with a love of Reading but for inspiring me to be a better person.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Memory of Kevin

"I know the kids enjoyed the day, but I think I received much more from the experience than they did. I sought out a volunteer opportunity in memory of my son who passed away on Nov 5, 2009. This was a perfect way to honor him, as he was a voracious reader."
--Kelly Border, from Magnolia Elementary Grade 4

Thank you, Kelly for sharing Kevin with us- and for reminding us how important reading can be in a child's life. We welcome you to the Reading to Kids family.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Inspiring Comments from New Readers!

Reading to Kids would like to thank all of the wonderful volunteers who came out to read on January 9th! Here are just some of the inspiring comments from new volunteers:

"I was so impressed with the number of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers who regularly give their time to Reading to Kids."
--Katherine Tolford, reader at Gratts Elementary

"I feel Reading to Kids is a great organization and I admire the coordinators and volunteers for all of their hard work. I plan to stick with this and continue doing what I can to help. My overall experience at Gratts Elementary was great and I cannot wait to continue helping in the future."
--Rudie Galloway, reader from Gratts Elementary Grade 5

"The kids truly connected with the reading material. They came alive trying to guess what would happen next in the story and were eager to help us read along. It was such a wonderful experience and I look forward to coming back next month!"
--Stephanie Bohn, reader from Los Angeles Elementary Grade K

"Thank you for developing such an amazing programm. (I am) honored to be a part of it."
--Anna Aristova, reader from Politi Elementary Grade K

"I cannot tell you what a rewarding experience this was for me. It is one of those things that you walk away from saying: 'they just did more for me than I did for them.'"
--Vince Ponder, reader from White Elementary Grade K

"I worked with a kindergarten class and it went smoothly, the students paid attention and I really enjoyed my experience."
--Rosalva Rojas, reader from White Elementary Grade K