|NPL’s ‘Partners in Reading’ program to begin Monday|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 31 January 2013 16:10|
Every semester the Normal Public Library gives college students the opportunity to pair up with a young child to read, hang out and even mentor weekly.
Starting Monday, students who volunteer will sign up for weekly sessions, which last through mid-April.
“Partners in Reading is a program that matches college students with elementary-age children and the purpose is to encourage a life-long love of reading,” Lyndsey Carney, children’s librarian and Partners in Reading coordinator at the Normal Public Library, said.
“So they spend time together each week during the semester, they meet for 45 minutes and they read books together and then they also play games at the library and they explore other resources the library has to offer,” Carney said.
Students are partnered with their elementary school buddy based on availability. Interests and majors are looked at as well so if a bilingual education major comes in, he or she may be partnered with a Spanish family, or if a special ed. major is volunteering, he or she may be partnered with a child with special needs, Carney explained.
“We encourage students of all majors and especially guys,” she explained. “We have lots of little boys in the program who would love to have guy partners, but we only have probably three or four a semester that sign up. We would love to have more guys.”
Aside from mentoring a young child and spending some time with him or her, many benefits come to college students through this program.
“It looks great on a résumé, it fills requirements for different volunteer hours for classes, obviously for the education classes it fill requirements, but also volunteer hours for any other service organization or classes you need volunteer hours for, this could fill in that time,” Carney said.
Hours can vary based on what the college student is looking for.
“It can be 10-12 hours a semester of time and you can also take on more than one partner so you can get even more hours so it’s kind of up to you what you make it into,” she added.
Many young elementary students attend these programs for free for a variety of different reasons.
“We have kids who are great at reading and just want to keep reading and exploring more things at the library, we have kids who want to just hang out with college students, so they come, they get a partner and we also have kids who don’t really like reading or don’t see reading as fun, it’s just work, so this is a way for them to kind of have fun and read at the same time,” Carney said.
This year the program has about 175 elementary students and is still looking for college students to sign up for volunteering.