Classroom volunteers for struggling readers

Research shows several effective strategies for helping students struggling with reading. The literature reviewed illustrated ways of using volunteers to help teachers who often do not have adequate time to meet the needs of all their students. This project came out of necessity as the author’s school did not have a volunteer handbook. The author of this project is a second-grade teacher who has 21 years of teaching experience, primarily in kindergarten through 3rd grades. Teachers were spending too much teaching time training volunteers, reducing time spent with students on core curriculum and volunteers were wasting waiting for the teachers and students. The first part of the project is a handbook for schools to train volunteers who help in the schools. The project was intended to provide a basic training structure for volunteers regarding the school’s comportment expectations, rules, and procedures and to make the volunteers feel they are a critical part of the school and its success. The second part of the handbook provides several effective strategies, based on the literature reviewed, to help 1st and 2nd grade students. There are various sight word games, reading phrases for fluency, comprehension questions, strategies for reading leveled books, sight word lists from pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade, and a volunteer tutor checklist for communication with the classroom teacher after each tutoring session. The goal of the handbook is to effectively retain volunteers on a long-term basis who can help students grow in their reading skills.