GENEVA — Reading to youngsters is something Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ America Reads tutors do all the time. However, reading efforts were more focused than usual Thursday.
HWS students participated in the annual Read for the Record, an international campaign to encourage early literacy. The initiative, sponsored by Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation, garnered 2.2 million participants last year. Since 2006, some 7 million children have been read to through the effort, raising $7 million for early education and providing more than 1 million books for children in low-income neighborhoods.
HWS America Reads participants already tutor at churches and schools in Geneva and Waterloo on weekdays. For those at Trinity Church Thursday, the event was marked with business as usual: reading to the children.
“They read for 20 minutes, at least,” said Michele Day, a William Smith senior who coordinates the program there.
The joint reading effort is one they do every day, Monday through Thursday, at the church, with about 10 to 12 HWS tutors and approximately the same number of youngsters in grades 3-5. Before reading, though, student must first finish their homework with tutors, Day explained.
HWS is always looking for more volunteers to tutor, Day explained.
“Personally, I beg my friends to do it,” she commented.
Day has been an America Reads tutor and coordinator since her freshman year.
“I really like to work with kids,” she said, saying she chose William Smith largely for its small size and one-on-one attention — something she thinks her young students deserve too, particularly those in need of a little extra help. “I love it. I think it’s very helpful for the kids.”
America Reads is a program coordinated by the Colleges’ Office for Community Engagement and Service Learning.