My name is Simi and I am currently volunteering as a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer at Redbridge Central Library. I wanted to become a volunteer because I see it as a good opportunity for me to work with children and young people as I want to work with children in the future. As an avid reader myself, I also wanted to encourage reading amongst children.
At the start, I was provided with my own name tag and Mythical Maze t-shirt (which I must say, is pretty comfortable!) I particularly enjoy having conversations with the children about what they love about reading their favourite book. From what I’ve seen, some young children love it when they are asked even the simplest questions about the books they read such as their favourite characters and favourite part of the book.
What I find challenging is communicating with young people around the age of 7-9 years because they often lose interest in reading. I found that children below the age of 6 are more engaged in reading books, maybe because the books they read have pictures that relate to the story whereas older children read books that have less illustrations. So the challenge for me is to get them to maintain their interest in their books.
Working at the library provides me with a safe and quiet working environment and also a chance to persuade parents to encourage their children to join the Reading Challenge as often, the parents approach me and ask me to suggest books for their children.
This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is based on a “Mythical Maze” – and what a wonderful theme it is! Children love to explore and that is exactly what the word mythical suggests. It promises magical things for them to discover and enjoy. The great thing about volunteering as a reading activist is giving out prizes, often the final prize which is the medal, certificate and the last sticker for their maze. Some of the younger kids enjoy receiving their prizes which also acts as an incentive for them to read more books and get more prizes.
It’s always fun talking to children and young people and interacting with the other volunteers. The staff are also very helpful and encouraging. It can also boost your confidence and improve interpersonal skills. I would definitely recommend volunteering at your local library for the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge. As for me, I will definitely be looking forward to volunteering again next year.
Guest Author: Simi Menon