October 27, 2009

Doubling My Efforts

I've been doing my volunteer gig for a month now. Once a week, I venture to a nearby elementary school, and laden with flash cards and easy reader books, I spend some time with a kindergartener who needs a little extra attention.

It's fun. It's frustrating.

I read, putting my finger underneath each word as I go. I ask open-ended questions to allow the little guy to tell me what he thinks will happen next. We talk about the illustrations.

Every week, he comments on how "fast" each book is - he is not a patient child. He doesn't like books with a lot of words. Last week, I must have done a good job selecting the books I'd read - he said he liked all of them.

He is easily distracted - by the colored pencils I've brought, by classmates coming into the hallway to use the restroom. I am able to get him back on task pretty quickly.

He really liked playing Go Fish with cards that had the alphabet on them - he needs to learn to recognize the letters. If a classmate walked by, he was sure to tell them that he was winning!

His regular teacher had a baby almost two weeks ago; his substitute teacher is very nice. She let me keep him busy for an hour and a half last week. I feel bad that he is missing out on activities in the classroom.

His classmates (especially the girls) are curious about why I am there. They want to know when it will be their turn.

Two classmates showed me their prowess with the alphabet by reciting the ABC song WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED! I was suitably impressed, let me tell you.

Did you know that if you write stuff on Post-it Notes, you can stick them back together to make a book? The little guy was pretty happy to take that with him.

The sub would like me to work with the little guy even more. She feels that she cannot give him the one-on-one attention he so desperately needs. We are going to make sure he completes any classwork he didn't finish during the school day.

She called me yesterday afternoon, and got permission from the principal to increase my time there to twice a week.

I'm not feeling so bad about being unemployed anymore.

I feel needed.

What books do your little ones like best? What books do they ask for, over and over?


  1. I'm not sure what grade level this little boy is but all of the Curious George books are not only entertaining and appealing to kids but they also provide timely lessons. Plus they're wonderfully illustrated and easy to reas. Yes, I'm old fashioned with my book choice here but Curious George rocks! Hey, wouldn't it be cool if some sort of paid teaching gig came from your wondeful volunteerism? It's too bad more people don't volunteer more to make changes in people's lives? Perhaps if we would educate our children better California wouldn't be spending more on prisons than it does on higher education. Maybe we could overcome the fact that over the past twenty years or so per capita prison spending in California has gone up 126% while per capita spending on higher education has declined 12%? Maybe, just maybe...

    Anyway, the Curious George books are fabulous and worth considering for your little guy.

    Also, the Clifford the Big Red Dog is also age appropriate for 5-7 year olds.

    Happy Reading and, from a friend and educator, thank you for volunteering with our students ad the educational system!

  2. So nice you have found a calling. I love that you feel needed!

  3. good for you - that was a great story it requires patience that i do not possess and God bless you for it

    when my son was little, it was GOOD NIGHT MOON over and over until we both had it memorized

  4. He is a lucky little guy to have you there helping him.

  5. It is such a great feeling to help the kiddos. I love the feeling I get volunteering to help some of the kids that are struggling in my daughters class!

  6. I have 2 little Kindergartners myself. So I know what a fun and difficult age 5 can be. They really learn things well through singing and rhymes. Especially if it has hand movements that go along. As for books, anything with animals seem to be the favorites around here. And they love Dr. Suess.

  7. The ones from Laura Joffe Numeroff (If you give a mouse a cookie) and there are a few more that she wrote.

    Also Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

  8. How wonderful --it must feel awesome to see him starting to bloom under your tender loving care. I love that the other kids want your attention too.

    And I saw someone mention Chicka Chicka Boom Boom -- that is a good one! It has letters in it, not too many words and is really bright and colorful!

    If I think of others, I'll let you know. I'm drawing a blank now cause I'm tired!


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!