Calling All Volunteer Readers

Calling All Volunteer Readers
University President Michael Ortiz enjoys a visit in his office with Children's Center preschoolers.

The cutest audience on campus is in need of some talented readers. The Children's Center is recruiting volunteers to read aloud to eager listeners, ages 2 to 5 years old, through March 9.

The First Steps to Reading program, which is made possible by a grant from the Los Angeles Times Family Holiday Fund Campaign, exposes children to reading at a young age to nourish their listening, comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills.

The Children's Center staff encourages volunteers to read their favorite children's book or choose a book from their large collection.

Volunteers are needed the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays in February to read to one of four classrooms. Morning reading is from 8:45 a.m. until 9 a.m. and afternoon sessions are from 12:45 p.m. until 1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. until 4 p.m.

If the time slots fill up, or you can't participate this month, the program will be offered again in the spring and summer.

For more information contact Ronii Galarneau at vrgalarneau@asi.csupomona or (909) 869-4785 or (909) 869-2284.

Hints for Reading Out Loud to Young Children

1. Love the book. Read it all through yourself before introducing it. Don't share a book you think is boring, because the children can tell. There are too many wonderful books available, select one you will enjoy reading. (Picture books work best, with only a few sentences on the page.)

2. Make sure they can see the book – Semicircles work, sit yourself just slightly above them so that the children in the back row can see the pictures above the heads of others.

3. Start Quickly – Begin reading to the children as soon as possible. Younger children do not have a long attention span.  

4. Introduce the book – Before you begin to read, always say the name of the book, the author and illustrator no matter how many times you have read the book to the children.

5. Talk to them before you read – As you begin, discuss the illustration on the cover. Ask; “What do you think this is going to be about?”

6. Keep their attention – As you read, if you sense the children's attention drifting, gain them back. Ask; “What do you think will happen next?”

7. Read with expression – Use plenty of expression when reading, dramatic voices, pause, make your voice softer or louder speech, add some funny voices, don't be shy. The children won't remember that you sounded silly. They'll remember an interesting book.  

8. Don't be fooled by awards – Just because a book won an award doesn't guarantee that it will make a good read-aloud one. In most cases, a book award is given for the quality of writing, not for its read-aloud qualities.

9. Remember to pace yourself – Reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it successfully and with ease you must practice.