February 2, 2017 (West Hartford, Conn.) - The Preschool Pals program, part of Children's Reading Partners, seeks volunteers to read one-on-one with at-risk preschoolers in Bloomfield this spring. Preschool Pals matches trained volunteers with children who need extra help to get ready for kindergarten.
Reading with a caring adult helps young children develop the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, such as appreciating stories and recognizing letters, words and numbers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 83 percent of children ages 3 to 5 are read to by a family member each week. In lower-income neighborhoods, the percentage is much lower.
Both children and volunteers benefit from Preschool Pals. "One of the highlights for me every week in the spring is being greeted with big smiles on the faces of enthusiastic three- and four-year olds," says Ann Cohen, a Preschool Pals volunteer. "We love to join forces and dig into books. We talk about the pictures, learn new words, relate the story to our lives, make predictions, and feel the emotions of the characters. The preschoolers I work with feel connected and cared for, and they learn to love the experiences that books can offer." The spring reading “season” lasts 10 weeks; a 6-week summer program is also available.
A training session for Preschool Pals volunteers will take place Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Community Services Building on the Zachs Campus at 333 Bloomfield Avenue in West Hartford. The snow date for the training is Monday, February 27. To learn more or to register, please call 860.236.READ (7323) or email READ@jewishhartford.org.
Children’s Reading Partners, part of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, serves at-risk public school students in Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, New Britain, Manchester and West Hartford. Volunteers of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome.