Students Volunteer at Fog Lit Festival
by Sabrina Bungash - Friday, October 24, 2014
No one knew what to expect when our English teacher, Ms. Lutz, told us that we would be volunteering at the public library to help fourth grade students pick out books. We had been matched up with the students from Prince Charles Elementary as part of the Fog Lit Festival at the Free Public Library in Market Square.
I know that I'm not speaking only for myself when I say that there was an uneasiness walking into it. Not many 11th grade students are given a position of that kind. Once the day began it was quite a unique journey for all of my classmates as we worked with our individual child; each child brought his or her own unique style and challenges for us to work with. Slowly we began to break down their apprehension towards the day and, by doing so, developed a relationship with our child, and we both gained knowledge about the other.
We were put on the spot to develop skills to suit our child's learning abilities, and to capture their ever-wavering attention which posed a challenge for us who have long forgotten what it's like to be in that small body. Everything our child would say became another stepping stone to discovering that perfect book for them, and one more way to draw them into the world of reading, and as we continued to observe their nature we also began to take a look at our own. Many of us were amazed at the development of one from fourth grade to high school, as well as the difference between our experiences as fourth graders and that of the children's.
This experience really allowed us to feel the struggles of a teacher - that responsibility of knowing that everything you say has an impact on their developing minds. We had to be confident enough to decide what books they should read, and what materials were not appropriate, while at the same time keeping them interested and involved, and working to spark their interest in the world of literature. It was like a double edged sword: on one hand you had to be fun and interest them so they could stay involved, yet on the other hand you had to be the adult and carry the responsibility of monitoring your words, the books, and your child.
The opportunity to encourage them to read and the ability to help them develop as a reader - despite the struggles - was an amazing thing to be part of. Not only were we able to walk down memory lane and revisit our childhood within the covers of Goosebumps, Tin -Tin, Nancy Drew, etcetera, we were also able to share our experiences and knowledge with children who could develop from that. I believe that all our thoughts on the outing can be summed up by the words of student, Emma Manning: "I really hope that what we did that day will help them seek out more stories."