AmeriCorps Reading Hour Program

About the Program:

The VT AmeriCorps Reading Hour is a literacy and mentoring program in which adult volunteers from the community and local businesses travel to a nearby child care center once a week or once every other week, and read one-on-one to a student. The volunteer spends 30 minutes reading and interacting with their Reading Friend. 

Reading Hour aims to increase children’s prospects for success in school and in life via reading experiences with caring adults. Through our Reading Hour program, we reach children while they are young, stimulate their interest in reading and learning, and encourage them to believe that they, too, can be successful.

Our goals:

  • To generate enthusiasm for books and reading.
  • To improve children’s listening comprehension, vocabulary, ability to articulate thoughts, and background knowledge (fundamental literacy skills).
  • To increase children’s self-esteem through consistent weekly attention from their mentors.
  • To provide flexible, convenient volunteer experiences for area professionals.
  • To bring community support and resources into local childcare centers and expose children to people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Why Read Aloud to Children?

“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

–National Commission on Reading, Becoming a Nation of Readers Report, 1985

In response to the National Commission on Reading’s landmark 1985 report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, and other such studies Smart Beginnings NRV has created the Reading Hour, a program in which adult volunteers are matched, one-to-one, with children to read aloud to them at their daycare center. Read aloud, by definition, involves an adult reading out loud to a child or children in order to foster a love of reading and to expose the child/children to a variety of vocabulary, language patterns, story structures, genres and authors. When read to, children are exposed to more complex language and vocabulary than they encounter in their own reading and as a result their reading skills improve.

What are Corporate Partners?

Corporate Partners provide Smart Beginnings New River Valley with both volunteers and support. SBNRV in turn manages the Reading Hour, taking full responsibility for program coordination. Employee volunteers of our corporate partners enjoy a rewarding community service experience, miss little or no work time, and feel excited to be part of a company that supports their involvement in the local community.

Reading Hour Contact Information:

Questions? Comments? Interested in volunteering or becoming a corporate partner? Want to get your daycare center involved? Please contact:

Mary Beth Keenan

Smart Beginnings New River Valley

201 W. Roanoke St. (0489), Blacksburg, VA 24061

Email: sbnrvreadinghour@gmail.com

Phone: 540-358-0512