Great Schools Partnership’s Leaders for Readers program matches students with trained volunteers to provide positive one-on-one reading experiences, that build literacy skills, to increase the number of third-graders reading on grade level in Knox County Schools.
In first through third grade, a student’s main focus is learning to read. It isn’t until fourth grade that the focus shifts to reading to learn. If a child is not reading on grade level by third grade, they’re more likely to struggle for the duration of their school career and beyond.
As a volunteer, you can have a direct and significant impact on a child’s life. If you are able to make a one hour per week commitment to help students read, we encourage you join.
“I have seen growth in all three of the students I have read with this year. Growth in sounding out new words and retaining those words when repeated later in the book we are reading. Growth in inflection and confidence in reading out loud. Growth in retention from what was happening in the books we read from week to week.” – Ginger Wallace, volunteer
Below are the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Volunteers:
Do I need to have a background or a degree in education?
Definitely not! All that is required is a willingness to serve students each week and a caring heart. We provide training at the school-level so you can learn your role and appropriate strategies, techniques, and resources for helping your students grow their reading skills.
Do I need to volunteer every week? What if there are days that I plan to be out of town or otherwise unavailable?
Yes, volunteers commit to a weekly schedule. We understand there may be a few times you can’t be there, but continuity each week is important. The continuity builds trust and that trust helps build the skills. We’re willing to bend for one or two planned absences each semester.
Can I pick the day and time I volunteer?
You may choose from the current openings. Volunteer times are set by each participating school. If your availability doesn’t fit your choice school’s openings, you may consider a different school location.
Can I pick the school I volunteer at?
You may choose from the participating schools that have current openings for volunteers.
Which schools are participating? (2018-19)
Ball Camp Elementary, Beaumont Magnet Academy, Belle Morris Elementary, Fountain City Elementary, Green Magnet Academy, Inskip Elementary, Lonsdale Elementary, Maynard Elementary, New Hopewell Elementary, Norwood Elementary, Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy, South Knoxville Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, West Hills Elementary, and West View Elementary.
Will there be any “training”?
There will be a volunteer orientation meeting at the school before you begin. There you’ll learn how the program will run at that school. Keep in mind, this is not the sort of thing that will require special teaching skills. We’ll just give you a few more details about how the program works and orient you to the school building.
How many students will I work with?
In an hour of volunteering you’ll work with no more than 3 students. You’ll spend about 15 minutes with each student individually.
Which grade level are the students in?
Leaders for Readers serves students in first, second, and third grade.
Is a background check required to volunteer?
What kind of background check will be run on me?
A national criminal and sexual offense background check will be ran on every volunteer FREE OF CHARGE, however, if you’d like to contribute any amount to the cost it is always appreciated.
Why do I have to be background checked?
Because of the one-on-one interaction volunteers will have with students, as aligned with Knox County Schools policy. We want to do our part in making school a safe place to be while engaging volunteers. You can read more about your background check by visiting VerifiedVolunteers.com.
How do I complete a background check?
Each participating school has a designated coordinator for Leaders for Readers who can help you complete a background check. If there are questions or concerns regarding your background check, please contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have volunteered in a Knox County School before and the school has you already approved and screened to volunteer please let our coordinator know.