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Help Prevent Summer Reading Loss

Great ways to volunteer with - and for - kids

Summer is upon us. For you, that could mean warm days spent in a shady spot with a good book, or a prolonged visit with family members. But for many school-age children, it means losing ground on their studies. In fact, during the three months of summer, children can lose between one and three months of learning from the previous year.

We can all play a pivotal role in helping encourage children to read. To help you find the perfect opportunity, Create the Good has put together some idea starters for volunteering with - and for - kids.

Give the Gift of Reading

Become a Children's Story Time Volunteer at the Library - Many libraries host children's story time. The activities vary, but the focus is reading literacy. It's a great opportunity to engage very young children in the power of stories for just a few hours' commitment a week. And because the library is a community center, you may also expand your social circle by meeting new people from your neighborhood. For basic tips on volunteering at libraries, check out this ehow article.

Clear Off Your Book Shelves - You've probably got books that you haven't cracked in years gathering dust on your book shelves. Why not put them to work for a great cause? Host a book drive and use the proceeds to fund literacy programs or new library books at your local school.

A Good Education Can Start Anywhere

Even if you don't have children in your life, you can help give children the gift of reading. There are lots of ways to get involved in children's reading literacy. Many organizations are already working to promote early childhood learning. Each offers volunteer roles that can positively impact the course of a child’s life, so get involved today.

AARP’s Experience Corps engages adult tutors to help improve student literacy in grades K-3. Learn more about getting involved with early education.

Boys and Girls Clubs of America partners with youth, families and schools to enhance education nationwide.

Reading is Fundamental is the largest nonprofit for children’s literacy in the country, motivating young children to read (especially those who are undeserved).

The Children’s Reading Foundation supports families, schools and communities helping children to read early and well.

Think Simple

Looking for additional ways to increase children’s literacy? A little time here and there can go a long way.

Nurture an early love of learning. Read a bedtime story to a youngster in your family. They’ll love hearing your voice, and you’ll love spending time. Kids love gadgets, so don’t forget about using technology. Reading on an e-reader or tablet could make all the difference!

Scope out your education community. Ask a principal, teacher or administrator at a nearby school about ways to get involved. Most school districts have websites listing opportunities of all kinds, not just those limited to literacy volunteers.

Ask the obvious. Don’t go too far in your quest to help before first checking with your family, neighbors, local mentors and even grandchildren for ideas!

Equip Children to Learn

Many children go to school without notebooks, pens or other basic supplies. Families experiencing unemployment and poverty often can't afford school supplies for their children - and schools facing budget cuts can't fill that gap.

Use Create the Good to find ways to give schools and classrooms the items they sorely need. Drop off supplies at a school near you, start a school supply drive of your own, or organize a used book sale (where both the proceeds and the books can go to school libraries).

Help in Other Ways

There are countless ways to give your time to youngsters beyond the issue of children's literacy. Here are just a few through Create the Good:

  • Help a child learn sound money management skills by teaching financial literacy
  • Form mentoring in music to giving time in a daycare, volunteer with organizations that specialize in helping youth. Get more ideas for working with youth here.
  • Start your own volunteer project for helping children. Create the Good's tips and guidancemake it easy.

Join the Literacy Conversation

Do a little reading - and talking - of your own on the topic of children's literacy by visiting AARP Experience Corps and its Facebook and Twitter pages. Currently, Experience Corps is in 22 cities. If you live outside of those areas, use Create the Good to find more ways to help.

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