Volunteers mentor young readers at Westside Center

       Students in the Monday-Thursday After School program at the Westside Community Center have been getting an extra benefit this semester - a chance to improve their reading skills.

Reading Mentor volunteer Vickie Beltramo works with first-grader Korrina Aguilar this week at the Westside Community Center on an exercise that uses images to help with spelling.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The Reading Mentor service has been offered by 16 volunteers, plus its director Jan Wolf, also a volunteer.
       About 35 students receive the one-on-one reading help, each for a half-hour, as part of their activities during the 3 ˝-hour After School program.
       LouAnn Dekleva, who directs D-11 volunteer services, praised the volunteer effort as a “win-win all around.” She noted also that the service was set up as a “partnership” between the district and the center, making sure that the Reading Mentor materials “align with the curriculum in the schools and what the teachers are doing in the classrooms to give the best benefit to the students.”
       Most of the Reading Mentor books were donated to the center by Woodmen Valley Chapel.
       “We're stressing sight words,” Wolf said, explaining that these are simple words (including “the” or “on”), and kids should be able to read 50 of these without thinking about them by the end of kindergarten.
       The “sight-word” number is expected to grow to 100 after first grade and 300 after second grade.
       “We can see improvement,” she said. “We're just here to try to bump up their confidence and help them.”
       Along with the After School program, Reading Mentor will end when the school year does later this month; however, people can sign up their children for the coming fall semester, starting in August.
       A preregistration meeting for the 2011-12 After School program with center director Dick Siever is scheduled Wednesday, May 18 at 6 p.m. at the center, 1628 W. Bijou St. A monthly fee is charged for the program, although there is a sliding scale based on income.
       For more information, call the center at 385-7920.

Westside Pioneer article