Promoting greater volunteerism and citizen service to help young children learn to read well has been part of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s agenda from the outset, reflecting the reality that that support will be essential to expanding promising programs and reaching the large number of children who are at risk. One of the major challenges we face is finding and engaging enough people willing to donate their time at schools and libraries. Fortunately, GLR Campaign partners and allies such as United Way Worldwide, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Points of Light are committed to recruiting significant numbers of volunteers and service members, and many of our Network communities have made tutoring a priority. National Volunteer Week, celebrated April 12-18, offers an opportunity for all of us to lift up the value of volunteer reading tutors and honor those doing the work.
Here are some ideas for celebrating National Volunteer Week:
1. Tap into nationwide opportunities:
- The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will be honoring literacy volunteers with a special webpage and social media postings. Tell us about the tutoring organizations in your community by April 6. Pictures are welcome!
- Submit organizations and photographs here
- Points of Light, a national organization that sponsors National Volunteer Week, honors an individual volunteer with the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes someone tackling a community need through volunteer service.
- Nominate a reading tutor from your community here
- Points of Light has created a Celebrate Service toolkit that includes logos, banners, proclamations, press release templates and photo releases. Through its Hands On Network, it will be hosting celebrations across the country.
- The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services is encouraging libraries to host events recognizing literacy volunteers.
2. Spread the word locally
The more you publicize the work of tutoring groups in your community, the more volunteers and resources they will gain. Use the tools at your disposal to feature photos and names of organizations. If there are several tutoring groups in your community, highlight a different organization each day.
- Website: Feature tutors, groups and library programs on your homepage during National Volunteer Week
- Newsletter: Make sure your April newsletter mentions volunteers or organizations
- Social Media: Feature photos and names on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms. Be sure to see if the groups have their own handles or hashtags for Twitter. If you use mention @PointsofLight, they’ll retweet it and/or @reply. We’ll do the same at @readingby3rd!
- Download our sample tweets and Facebook posts here
- Traditional media: Pitch a photo opportunity or story to print and broadcast
3. Plan an event for tutors at a local school or library
National Volunteer Week can be a moment to bring literacy volunteers together both to recognize the hours they have spent and inspire them going forward. Join with your local school district or library if they have an event planned–0r plan one of your own. You can use our custom materials for recognizing reading tutors:
- Use our literacy volunteer talking points here
- See our sample proclamation and a proclamation request letter here
- Download a template certificate here