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Volunteers needed to help share the joy of reading with first graders

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Marshall County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, needs volunteers, but the job isn't so hard. The group needs people to help instill a love of reading into first graders.

The organization runs a program called Reading Buddies. "It's a program where a caring adult works one-on-one with a child that's reading below grade level reading," explained director Jean Ann Moon, "A lot of times it's to share your joy of reading with a child. It's not about teaching English, or Phonics."

The idea is to share a love of reading. "A lot of times they don't see role models in their home. Parents don't read even magazines or newspapers in their home," Mood said, "They don't read them fairy tales or stories like when we were growing up and our parents always read us a bedtime story."

RSVP needs several new volunteers. This program is done every year throughout the county, but this new need stems from a request from Guntersville City Schools. "Guntersville Elementary School, about ten years ago, tried a pilot program where they had a reading buddy for every child in first grade that was reading below grade level," Moon explained, "By the end of the school year every child was reading at grade level so they want to try that again."

The volunteer would work one-on-one with a student. "It would be just to the end of the school year, about 30 minutes a week, your day, your time of your choice, and you would work with one child and hopefully instill the joy of reading into that child by the end of the school year," Moon said.

Schools provide training to familiarize the volunteer with procedures, holiday schedules, and resources. You can also sign up to help other students across Marshall County. All volunteers must be 18 or older. You can volunteer by calling 256-571-7734.