How to Launch Rotary Readers in Your Community!
These steps will help you and your Rotary clubs to establish Rotary Readers in your schools and community.
1. Contact your local school district to see if trained readers would be welcomed as volunteers in one or more pilot schools.
2. Survey your Rotary club and retired citizens groups to see if you can identify a corps of potential volunteers who would enjoy reading to children at school at least one hour a week.
3. Meet with a principal and school librarian who would be willing to have their school become the pilot school/training center.
4. Invite a knowledgeable elementary teacher and the librarian to spell out the skills they would welcome in Rotary Readers: i.e., loves to read, calm, patient, speaks clearly, enjoys children, willing to do what will help children practice reading and will improve their reading skills.
5. Rotary Readers are not teachers. They are readers who read to children and are read to by children. They are Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS) and must have a TB skin test to work with children. (Our school district provides this test free of charge.)
6. Schools may request trained readers. Readers may request specific schools. The goal is to get a good match. If readers find a placement they like, (grade level, school, working with individuals or small groups) fine. If they do not find a good match initially, either the volunteer or the school may request a change with no hard feelings.
7. After a brief training session and volunteering as a RotaryReader weekly for a month, have the reader fill out an evaluation form and make suggestions.
8. Observe readers and offer pointers and encouragement.
9. The librarian will help Rotary Readers find books children enjoy and can read-not too difficult or too easy for their age and grade. The idea is to find material children enjoy reading or hearing read to them. Book lists appropriate for each grade level are available from most school districts, school or public libraries and the State Department of Education at www.cde.ca.gov/ci/literature.
10. Enjoy. Have fun. Stay in touch with vivacious, enthusiastic youngsters. It helps to keep you young and helps our kids have a brighter future.
P.S. Plan an annual event at your Rotary Club to honor Rotary Readers and showcase what you do. You may find that local newspapers, radio and TV are interested in covering the news of your efforts. It makes volunteers feel wonderful and helps you recruit more!
If you have any questions, contact our Rotary office at (562) 436-8181 or Madrid@rotarylongbeach.org.