Each summer I have the pleasure to operate our youth Reading Partner Program where younger children get paired up with older children to practice their reading skills over the summer. I use award winning read alouds and staff favorites then organize them by reading level to build an exciting and successful library collection for the partners to use.
Youth completing the 4th through 6th grade receive training in May to learn how to be a successful reading partner and build confidence for the big day when the younger children arrive. There is always a lot of excitement thinking about what their experience is going to be like and who they might get paired to work with.
In June it is time to put our volunteer skills into action by greeting younger readers who would like to practice their reading skills. This can be a little scary for the younger children as they first arrive but our volunteers know just what to do to help every shy child feel right at home. It’s an exciting time learning how to build friendships in addition to literacy skill building.
It is not unusual for our budding readers or our volutneers to want to come in and read more than once a week, a true sign of a successful youth partnership. Sometimes our families even choose to reach out to one another to continue the partnership after the program is done.
It takes a special young person to take time out of their summer and dedicate themselves to helping a younger child to read. We are fortunate to have many of those special kinds of kids right here at the Rocky River Public Library. I am grateful to have the privilege to work with them.