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Why should I volunteer?

Are you kidding?  It's awesome!

Is there any kind of training?

Yes!  We offer an hour-long orientation, typically in January.  We will do several sessions and hopefully you can make one of them.  We ask that all new readers attend one of these sessions, but it is not a bad idea to refresh each year. It's fun to talk about what we do and the volunteer pool is a great community to network with. Watch for the orientation sessions to be scheduled in the "SIGN UP TO READ" calendar where you will be free to register and receive instructions on the where and when.

How long is a reading?

A reading is 30 minutes.  We ask that each volunteer please do two readings. You can select readings that are back-to-back on the same day, at the same school.

Do I have to buy my own book?

No!  We have books.  We just need to figure out how to get one to you so that you can read it and be familiar with the material.  Also, each classroom will have the book that you will be reading when you get there.

What happens when I arrive at the school?

Be there at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled reading.  All schools are locked. Go to the front door and push a buzzer.  State your name and that you are from the Read-In program. They will buzz you in.  Go to the front desk.  Sign in.  Tell them the name of the teachers classroom(s) you will be visiting and they will give you some directions on how to find the classroom, or they might even assign a student to assist you. The teacher(s) will be expecting you!

Do I just read the book?

No! Sit down at a chair in front of the kids and spend a few minutes to tell them who you are and what you do. They are interested in you. Do you (or did you) have kids that you read to? Engage them. "Do you know what an engineer does?" "Do you know where I work?"  Be careful, they will flood you with questions and you want to tell you what all of their parents do and where they work, so at some point you will have to cut them off and get to the book!

Should I bring anything?

Absolutely no nut products on school campus! Some children have nut allergies and we are specifically instructed to not bring any. To be on the safe side, we are saying NO FOOD.  If you want, you can bring a show-and-tell item that helps the kids understand what you do for work.  You can bring your own book.  You can bring a fun prop about the story.

Can I take pictures?

No!  Schools have been requested to take pictures for our Read-In program and will provide images for Corning internal use only. Please be sensitive to the fact that many parents would object to images being taken of their children.


Are there lesson plans?

Yes! We have lesson plans that are absolutely brilliant. They were developed by Brenda McClure of the Corning Painted Post school district.  There are pause points in the book where you will be asking them questions.  After the story is finished, you will be asking them a series of additional questions about the book and the subject matter.  Remember, there are no bad answers. If you don't like how one student responds then say "OK" and move on to another student who has their hand raised.  Beware, these kids are smarter than you think!  :-)

Have the students already read the book prior to my reading?

No.  The teachers have their own lesson plans and will prepare the students for the subject, but they have not read the book.


What if there is a snow day?


If your school cancels for the day, then the reading will be rescheduled for another day.  If there is a 2 hour delay and your session is earlier than 10:30, it will be rescheduled. If it is later than 10:30 your session will be held. 


What if a child asks me a tough question?

If you don't feel comfortable answering it, then the kids are typically familiar with someone telling them, "We are going to put that question in the parking lot for now."  Redirect them.  Today we are talking about this book. The purpose of using the "parking lot" concept is to identify the validity of the student's question and to acknowledge the importance of that question; however, it needs more time for further discussion at another time.


Am I on my own with the tough questions?


No.  The teachers are there to help you.  They deal with these issues all of the time and will be available to chime in and help you handle it.


What is an example of a tough question I might be asked?


One child asked if it is OK to use the word "negro."  (We had done stories the previous year about the Negro Baseball Leagues.)  You might answer "That is a historical word that we don't use anymore in everyday language."  You might look to the teacher and ask him/her how to respond.  But a perfectly valid answer is "That's a great question. Let's put it in the parking lot."

Why do we have black history month?

We celebrate Black History Month because, even though the topics are part of American and World History, our text books do not currently cover the topics with equal detail. Hopefully one day the history books will cover all areas of history and we will celebrate all of our accomplishments and learn from all of the mistakes. 

Why were white people mean to black people?

Perhaps reference bullying as a term they would all be familiar with. Make the point that not all white people were mean and that there were people of all races who thought slavery was wrong and worked hard to end it.

Is this a real story or a made up story?

All of the books are about real people and real historical events. Some are historical fiction (written based on true historical events/people).

I thought the volunteer reader was going to be black?

Teachable moment: We intentionally have a diverse volunteer pool demonstrating that the issues that we discuss affect all of us as people and this is part of our collective history. It may be helpful to point out that people of all backgrounds stood up with black people to fight for their civil rights.




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