According to statewide school officials, reading aloud to children in elementary school on a daily basis is some of the most productive time you can spend. And not just at school, but at home as well.
In Lincoln County, School District Superintendent Pam Teel said, “Any time we can have parent volunteers or community volunteers to aide and assist students, it’s a gain for both them and the school. It’s a gift when we get those contributions.”
Caliente, Panaca and Pahranagat Elementaries have volunteer reading programs.
Principal Pete Peterson at Panaca Elementary said students are given the chance to have one-on-one time with volunteers who come over from Lincoln County High School, along with parent volunteers. “It has helped,” he noted. “The state of Nevada has a mandated program, Read by 3, and the teachers see the volunteer program as a huge help to get those kids that are struggling readers some extra help and move them along.” He added, “Our library is completely run by parent volunteers. I just can’t imagine running the school without all those volunteers.”
Lynette Stirling, second grade teacher at Pahranagat Elementary, said volunteer reading allows her “to be able to have the kids put in to four different groups on their reading levels, so that they are reading books that will push them a little bit, not too easy, but not too hard either. Then I can use the time to plan reading strategies for each group, so it’s very helpful.”
Brian Higbee, principal at Pahranagat Elementary said, “It is really important because there is a wealth of knowledge out there, people who are educated and know the importance of reading, especially for young kids, and for them to donate their time, come in and volunteer makes a huge difference. The kids like it, especially the high school kids that come over to help. “It’s huge for our young kids. I call them student mentors. They not only do reading, but help with flashcards for math and spelling also. The young kids just love it.”
He said, “We are able to differentiate different reading groups, which means we can have groups at their grade level and basically bring them up in their reading performance with the help.
“This also helps us bridge that gap when we are shorthanded at times. And it helps with other areas as well – spelling, vocabulary, math, everything across the board.”
Teel said it is not only reading that has volunteers, in Caliente, a woman comes in for a volunteer art program.