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The National Education Association says that having kids practice reading will develop stronger skills and is a crucial component to becoming a good reader and the U.S. Department of Education did a study that discovered a positive correlation between time students spend reading for fun and their reading scores in school. Greater St. Cloud Area RSVP volunteer, Don Oestreich, serves two days per week for the “Super Readers” program at the Southside Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud. The goal of the program is to advance and develop children’s reading skills, boosting their confidence in those skills, expand their imagination while simultaneously acquiring a love and passion for reading.
Don values the opportunity to volunteer for the “Super Readers” program and explained many kids he reads with do not have any books or anyone to read with at home so he will listen to them read and says it is satisfying to know he is benefiting someone else. “One little girl came in [to the Boys and Girls Club] and said she hadn’t done any reading in over a month due to school being out” so Don listened to her read as she refreshed her dormant skills. “It is fun to read with the kids” Don said. Don truly surpasses the call of duty when volunteering for the “Super Reader’s” program.
Venna Tschida, the Academic Success Coordinator at the Southside Boys and Girls Club, is the staff person who oversees the “Super Readers” program. Venna raved about Don’s dedication to his volunteer service saying “Don goes above and beyond. He does not only sit and listen to the child, but if a child is struggling with a letter he will try to figure out which sound the student is struggling with and then help the child with that specific sound.” “Kids will come in and say “I want to read with Don today”; it is fun to see kids building enthusiasm and excitement about reading” Venna said.
A child who spends a lot of time reading with Don said “Don is very helpful and reassuring. If you mess up a word he’ll help you get it right instead of just telling you that it is wrong”. Don truly encompasses the patience and compassion required to volunteer with children and his efforts are appreciated by the many students who have improved their skills as a direct result of his gift of time through volunteering.
The Greater St. Cloud Area Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) partners with many organizations in the community that provide quality out of school time for local children. RSVP connects volunteers, age 55 and better, to these agencies to support their efforts in achieving academic success for students. If you are interested in volunteering in your community, please contact RSVP at (320)255-7295 or visit www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP.