I am a lover of books and a huge proponent of student community service. This post is dedicated to the union of the two.
Becoming a literacy volunteer or a tutor is a great way for students to earn community service hours while helping improve lives. Words are all around us – on signs, in restaurants, on public transportation, in books, and on the internet. Research has shown that children who are not read to enter school less prepared for learning to read than other children. One of my favorite literacy quotes is from Bell Hooks and reads, “Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books.” Literacy provides a window into new worlds. Reading not only introduces us to new people, places, and things, it also allows us to “practice” how we would respond in various situations. Yes, even young children learn valuable life skills through reading.
Literacy is about more than reading, however. Literacy skills also include the abilities to write, to do math, to solve problems, and to access and use technology. Without these capabilities a person will be unable to fully participate in their world. They will risk becoming isolated from society. Illiteracy affects the ability to find jobs, read prescriptions, and purchase a home. Literate citizens are essential to eliminating poverty, improving health outcomes, and addressing inequality.
So as you can see the message is worth repeating, becoming a literacy volunteer or tutor is a great way for students to earn community service hours while helping to change lives.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.