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Rockford Reads: Help Second Graders Grow their Love of Reading

volunteer reading to children

The last three years I have had the opportunity to read to second graders through the Rockford Reads program. Each year was a new experience. Because of the pandemic, I was able to read to students both in the classroom and remotely. What has not changed is the satisfaction I get from helping students read and being able to watch their confidence grow throughout the year!

Second grade is a crucial year in a child’s reading journey. During this time, reading allows them to learn new vocabulary, meet literacy milestones and is often when the love for reading is developed.

This year, volunteers not only read to students one-on-one, they are an important part of helping students grow social skills after losing social experiences due to the pandemic.

Each week I look forward to reading with my group of students. They are always excited to see me and show me what books they selected from the library that week. I also bring my own books to share. Typically, they read aloud to me, and I am there to help them through words they are stuck on. The teachers are very helpful and grateful for our visits as well. Rockford Reads is a great way to give back to our community, to make a difference in a young person’s life and to support our local school systems.

If you are considering volunteering, I would encourage you to connect with Rockford Reads. There is still plenty of time this school year to get started! For more information, visit the Rockford Reads section of the Rotary website. Community volunteers are required to complete and sign a volunteer information form. Volunteers will also select the school(s) and day(s)/time(s) they are available. Volunteers will be contacted by RPS 205 staff with a school assignment and a starting date.

Mail the completed volunteer form:
Family and Community Engagement Department
501 7th Street
Rockford, IL 61104

If you have any questions about the volunteer process, experience, or would like more information, feel free to contact me at

Jessica Story

Jessica Story

Jessica Story is a member of the Rotary Club of Rockford, Rockford Reads, and Operations Manager for The Workforce Connection serving Boone, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

  • Volunteer