Not Enough Days until Christmas!!!!
Tonight is the 3rd Wednesday of the month, which means that it was Book Club night! After reading Michael Chabon’s book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and having no one to talk to about all of my favorite moments in the book, I decided to start a book club so I’d have a guarantee that others would be reading what I’m reading and we’d have a chance to discuss. We also of course chit chat and drink wine and so on, but everyone’s done a great job of attempting at least the beginning of the book and we’ve had some really great discussions.
So in the spirit of today’s reading theme, after work I swung by Sherman Elementary School to donate some gently used children’s books to the Reading Partners program. For those of you with me last year, you’ll remember that every Thursday I volunteered with this program, going to the school for an hour to tutor a third grade in reading skills. It was a really fun and rewarding experience that I continued throughout the spring as well, and I was really sad to give it up this fall when I accepted a full-time temp job that was too far away from the school. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, Reading Partners works with high-need elementary schools to match children with volunteers who provide one-on-one tutoring at the student’s reading level. The girl I worked with last year was about half a grade level behind, so having some one-on-one time to focus on comprehension was really critical to bring her up to her current grade’s reading level so she doesn’t fall behind. She improved by about a quarter of a level, but the thing that I was most excited about was that at the year-end party she couldn’t stop chattering about all of the books she wanted to read that summer. I feel like I was able to help her move from a place where reading was a chore to one where reading was something to which she could look forward!
One of the things that Reading Partners offer to the kids is Take-Home books. The books are donated, and each child can pick one to take home with them and read. They write a a very short book report on it and it’s theirs to keep. Once they finish it, they can pick out another – as many as they can read! It’s really fantastic because some of these kids have never had any books of their own in their homes. So today I swung by the school on my way to book club to drop off some books for the shelf. Our friend Anna, who also participated in Adopt-a-Family, also contributed some books that she got from a friend of hers who collects children’s books at sales and auctions to be donated to various organizations. I just love how many people get involved in 25 Days! I couldn’t do it without so many wonderful, generous people.
Read more about my experiences with Reading Partners here, here, here, and here. If you’d like to support Reading Partners by becoming a volunteer tutor, you can find more information here – they have programs all over the country so you can sign up not only in the Bay Area, but also in NYC, DC, LA, CO, Baltimore, Dallas, and Sacramento/Chico. If you live in one of those areas, you can also drop off books to the schools or support them in other ways. It’s a great program so if you’re looking for a rewarding volunteer experience, this could be it!
I also had the opportunity for some Bonus Giving today! A few weeks ago I entered a Twitter contest through the SF Ballet and, thanks to the help of my bestie Sara, WON tickets to the Nutcracker! Unfortunately the tickets are for 12/26 and I’ll be in MD that day celebrating Christmas with my family. However, I never miss an opportunity to give, so I was happy to gift them to a friend of mine, Andrea, who will be in town on the 26th to enjoy the ballet. She does so much for me all of the time that it was a pleasure to give her the tickets. Also she’s never seen the Nutcracker in SF so I have high hopes that it will be a great evening for her! I wish I could enjoy them, but it’s just as nice to give such a treat to a deserving friend.