Making Reading Fun!

It seems obvious: if children enjoy reading, they’ll read more. SMART provides a special place where kids can choose their own books and simply have fun reading. Your role is to provide a fun, interactive and engaging reading experience for students.

Here are a few principles that guide our volunteers’ approach to reading with kids:

Provide a child-guided experience

We know that children who enjoy reading are more motivated to read. This motivation leads to more reading time, which in turn leads to increased comprehension and self-confidence. One way to increase enjoyment is to let children guide their own reading experiences.

What is my role?

  • Children should always choose the books they want to read, regardless of their reading abilities.
  • Let children read the same book as often as they like. Sometimes, a child will fall in love with a book and want to read it over and over again.
  • Listen, and let the child drive the conversation!
Recognize each child's unique strengths and needs

Children mature at different rates. It is normal for a child's reading level to be often different from their age and listening level. Our goal is to recognize this range of abilities, and tailor the reading experience to the child's unique needs.

What is my role?

  • Be aware of your own assumptions. Work to meet children where they are rather than where you might think they should be.
  • Try to avoid making assumptions about reading ability based on age or maturity.
  • Expect to see changes throughout the year, but know that some of these changes might not be visible to you.
Provide a positive and culturally affirming reading experience

Children in the SMART program come from a variety of backgrounds. SMART is committed to providing reading experiences that are positive and culturally affirming for all students.

What is my role?

  • Be aware that children might enjoy books that don’t align with stereotypical gender roles. Many girls might enjoy books about trucks and sports, and boys might want to read fairy tales. We encourage children to read whatever interests them!
  • Some of our common assumptions about family structure may not fit a child’s own home life. Be thoughtful about how you refer to families and recognize that children might live with relatives, foster parents, single parents, or two parents of the same gender.
  • We all carry assumptions. Be mindful of and challenge your own assumptions and biases about a child’s home life, experiences, or reading ability based on their appearance or cultural background.
  • Explore bilingual books and books in languages other than English. If you aren’t able to read the language and the child can, invite the child to teach you some new words!

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