Literacy league kickoff: Chelsea volunteers help kids learn to read

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Students flowed into the library at Chelsea Park Elementary March 1 to hear local &8216;celebrities&8217; read some of their favorite books.

The event kicked off the national Read Across America program, but maybe more importantly for Chelsea Park, it celebrated the beginning of the school&8217;s Literacy League.

&8220;The best way for young readers to progress is by learning through one-on-one time,&8221; said vice-principal Angela Walker. &8220;The response from our parents and community has been overwhelming. Every class has at least one volunteer if not more to sit and read with our kids.&8221;

Walker said the Literacy League would provide the personalized attention many students need when they are learning to read more difficult books.

Each volunteer of the program has committed to read with students for one hour every week. In that hour, the volunteer will work with three children.

Kathy Walton, reading coach, said teachers can never get enough time to spend with each student individually. &8220;We see this program working so well with those students that need just a little bit of extra support,&8221; Walton said. &8220;But also just giving them self-esteem. Sometimes they just really need somebody to tell them you&8217;re doing a great job.&8221;

The volunteers have been trained in reading strategies so that they can pick up on what problems each child has with reading.

With 38 parent and community volunteers, the group will be able to work with almost 120 children in the first week.

Rob Foster, one of many parents involved with the project, said he too was amazed by how many people offered their time.

&8220;The response we got makes you proud to be a part of Chelsea,&8221; Foster said. &8220;It shows where their hearts are and they are with the kids.&8221;

Foster said parents want to see the program continue to grow large enough to have several volunteers for each classroom, in each grade level.