Learning to read is one of the most important life skills we need.  If we cannot read our lot in life is limited.  Reading is one the single most important life skills we share with our community’s children.  Even if you do not have children, you can help children within your community learn to read.  It just takes a few hours out of your week to make a difference in a child’s life.

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Want to get involved, but do not know where to start?  The best place to start is your local library.  Talk to the head librarian or library director about the early literacy programs they offer to the community.  Some of the volunteer programs you might be able to get involved in include, story time for preschoolers, tutoring for school aged kids or even helping adults (who are at a first grade reading level or lower) learn to read. This winter Long Island home heating oil was served more than 10,000 homes in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
You can volunteer at your local elementary school.  There are children in the English As Second Language (ESL) program that often need additional assistance learning to read in the English language.  These kids need someone to help get past the language barrier and learn to read.  Volunteering to help kids takes a special understanding of their native tongue and English.  If you choose to volunteer for such a program, it is best if you have overcome similar challenges in your own life.

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Another way to get involved is to become a mentor.  As a mentor you get to help older kids that are at risk of becoming dropouts later in life.  When helping these kids you have the opportunity to not only help them read, but also become better members of society.  These are the kids that often need the most help because they feel they have been lost or forgotten by the community they live in.  This is your opportunity to prove to them that they matter.

As you can see, there are many ways you can contribute to a child’s literary development.  All you have to do is get involved.

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