Students across North Texas are working to help younger students with their literacy skills. It’s all through Reading Partners North Texas virtual volunteer program.
The national literacy non-profit has dedicated years to helping young students read on grade level, catching those up who have fallen behind. The pandemic has made it difficult to meet with these students in person, especially with many schools not allowing volunteers in to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Major Kent, a senior at Jesuit in Dallas, is one of the young people volunteering to give other students a brighter, academic future.
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“I just really care about the community and I see the value in reading,” Kent said. “As a kid, I loved reading. I just think it’s really important for kids’ futures that they get involved in reading at a young age and get good at it. It opens up so many possibilities for them later in life.”
Kent said he leads a group of his peers helping a little more than 20 students in second and third grades become better readers.
Tania Nguyen said she agrees. The Texas Christian University student said for her, it's also about the benefits not just for the kids, but for her as well.
"I truly can’t give you a single downside to this program. If time is a concern, Reading Partners works fantastically with your schedule with many session options in the day, requiring only an hour per day for one or two days a week, your choice! I especially love encouraging college students. As an engineering student, I definitely understand a busy schedule, but these two hours a week can impact a child more than you’d think. Students love talking and asking about college with some learning about it for the first time," Nguyen said. "Title I schools are overcrowded and understaffed, so having individual time with a child is extremely rare and crucial, especially to children who need extra assistance."
Reading Partners North Texas will train volunteers and provide them with virtual lesson plans. They just ask the volunteer is able to commit to a little more than one hour a week and live near the Reading Partners region.
Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and will need to pass a background check.
Reading Partners North Texas is a community partner of NBC 5 and Telemundo 39's literacy initiative Reading With You.