Start Making A Reader Today, or SMART, is a literacy non-profit that pairs adult volunteers with students and one-on-one reading time during the school year.
I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile but reading to other people intimidate me. But I decided to challenge myself and just do it.
The orientation was full of longtime volunteers and newbies, young and old, but each of us wanting to make some sort of interest in a kid’s life.
The first day was awkward (at least, for me) since it was the getting-to-know one another phase. I have a first-grade boy for the first half hour and then a kindergartener girl. I didn’t realize how quickly the time goes by and wasn’t particularly thrilled by how I did. Plus, I ended up reading Ninjago both times.
The second session went better. The first grader really enjoyed the Elephant & Piggie books (by Mo Willems) so we each played a character while we read. I ended up reading a few Black Lagoon books (by Mike Thaler) with the girl. The important thing was they both seemed engaged with the stories.
A cool thing about SMART is that they let the kids choose a book to keep twice a month. I loved seeing their surprise when they found out.
Here are a few books I read during my SMART volunteer sessions- with the last one being so popular I figured I should get familiar with it.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child- I’ve ended up reading this twice with the kindergartner now. I was familiar of Charlie and Lola but hadn’t read any of the books. As someone who has a Yucky Food List, I wouldn’t call myself a picky eater. We both enjoyed how Charlie got his sister to eat the different kinds of food.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey- Let me get this straight. Captain Underpants is basically an overweight bald man running around in his underwear? Aside from the ick factor and because I’m a bookseller, I can tell people that this is a good series for kids who like slapsticky humor. George and Harold are always pulling pranks and getting into trouble. Super silly and the flip-o-rama pages will surely interest them.