Read With Me, a volunteer program that helps children from a low-income, limited-English speaking environment to read, comprehend and speak English is seeking volunteers.

The program, which was started in 2004, has been helping children learn to read in nine schools and is now seeking volunteers to help in three additional schools due to the success of the program, said Roberta Klein, founder and president of the program.

Volunteers are needed in the following locations immediately:

  • Jackson Elementary, Indio, Desert Sands Unified School District
  • Valle Del Sol, Coachella, Coachella Valley Unified School District
  • Oasis Elementary School, Coachella Valley Unified School District (Bus service is available from La  Quinta to the school.)
  • Mountain Vista Elementary, Coachella Valley Unified School District (starting in January.)

Read With Me brings volunteers from at least seven churches to five different schools. The schools are all in areas of high poverty with a majority of the parents untrained in academic English. They love their children but cannot help them with English, Klein said.

Volunteers Needed To Help Children

In the classroom, the teacher assigns individual volunteers to selected students to listen to them read, assisting them with pronunciation and comprehension. The mentor/tutors are typically retired part-time Coachella Valley residents; some with special skills who help specific students go beyond the basic. Klein said a commitment of at least six to eight weeks is expected to provide consistency to the children.

Volunteers are asked to commit two hours a day once a week to tutor children in English.

“We focus on children who come from homes where no English is spoken and who live in poverty,” Klein said. “All the research indicates that if a child is not reading at grade level by third grade they will drop out of school. If they drop out of school they not only don’t succeed, they frequently get in trouble and wind up in prison. Volunteers can change the direction of a childs life by helping them become proficient in English.”

In the program, the children read to the volunteers one-on-one or in small groups and the volunteers help them with pronunciation and comprehension.  A volunteer chooses the day of the week they are available and the school assigns them to a teacher who is in need of a volunteer.  The teacher assigns which children the volunteer will work with and what materials to use.

“When  we started this program  in 2004 the graduation rate in Coachella Valley Unified School District was 51.1 percent,” Klein said. “It is now 86.1 percent. The district acknoledges that Read With Me volunteers are an important part of that gain”

Volunteers indicate what grade level they would be interested in working with and the principal and aides escort them to individual classrooms, to introduce each volunteer to the teacher. The teacher chooses the book and the student(s) and the volunteer sit down with each child and encourages them in their reading, according to Klein.

For further information have people contact Sherri De Boer at readwithmesd@gmail.com.

To learn more about volunteering, click HERE.

Buses are available at some locations for volunteers who need transportation. The church decides what days of the week to provide the bus service.

If you would like to read with a child and want to know how to get started, click HERE.

If you would like to read but cannot make the commitment and would still like to help, click HERE.

If you would like to get in touch with Klein with any questions you might have, click HERE.