November 10 2021 0comment

United Way Unveils New Program: Reading Neighbors

United Way of the Wabash Valley is partnering with the Vigo County School Corporation to expand its current literacy focus with a new program, “Reading Neighbors”. The program invites community members to read aloud to first and second-grade students to improve emerging reading skills, using a special selection of books that also help children strengthen self-awareness, decision-making, and interpersonal skills vital for success in school, work, and life. The program has been made possible with support from the corporation’s Student Learning Recovery Grant and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

The Reading Neighbors pilot program will begin in 114 classrooms. The program will launch in January and continue until the end of the school year, with volunteers coming in to read to the class once a month. United Way of the Wabash Valley is seeking volunteer readers for the new program. Volunteers will receive guidance through an orientation session and story discussion guides to help them facilitate conversations with students about the themes of the stories. Volunteer readers will visit their assigned classroom for a total of five 30-minute sessions.

The program aims to help first and second graders build literacy skills and to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them. Not only does the program benefits students, and it will also provide a new collection of classroom books to every first- and second-grade teacher. This set of 20 books will be a resource to the teacher throughout the year, help facilitate conversations, and help guide the students through tough situations. Reading Neighbors will also introduce the students to a diverse set of volunteer readers, demonstrating that neighbors are people we take time to know, we share with, and we help when they’re in need.

Some of the books in the collection include:

  • The Good Egg by Jory John
  • When Sophie Gets Angry by Molly Bang
  • One Drop of Kindness by Jeff Kubiak
  • We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio
  • A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

“Reading aloud to children is one of the most important activities for building their own success in reading. Reading aloud expands students’ vocabulary and improves communication and listening skills. It boosts students’ curiosity, imagination, and memory. Most importantly, it encourages students to become passionate and lifelong readers. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Vigo County School Corporation to offer this new program to our young readers and we look forward to working with our volunteers to make it a success!” Dorothy Chambers, Community Impact staff member, explained.

Interested volunteers should contact Dorothy Chambers at United Way of the Wabash Valley. She can be reached at 812.235.6287 or at [email protected].