Reading aloud to young children is the most important thing we can do to help them become motivated, strong readers. Our Read Aloud volunteers do just that, sharing the joy of a good story while helping children develop the cognitive, language and social-emotional skills needed to be capable readers. 



In our Read Aloud program, trained volunteers read aloud each week to approximately 4,300 children from underserved communities at early childhood education and Title 1 - eligible elementary school sites across San Diego. As a classroom-based program, we partner with elementary schools, Head Start and child development centers to share a love of reading with children in preschool through third grade. 


The Read Aloud Program has three different tracks to help make reading matter

Preschool Read Aloud

An important benefit of reading aloud to our youngest listeners is helping them sharpen reading readiness skills. These skills are outlined by the California Department of Education and include:

  • A positive attitude towards books

  • Word knowledge

  • Concepts of print

  • Phonological awareness

  • Exposure to diverse literature

  • Imparting conceptual knowledge (colors, shapes, sounds, letters, numbers)

Program Information

  • Program year runs October-May; sessions are bimonthly and monthly depending on the program

  • Predetermined books with accompanying enrichment guides are provided for each session

  • Total session time: 30 min/classroom

Elementary Read Aloud

(Kindergarten-3rd Grade)

Reading aloud is rewarding for both volunteers and their listeners. Benefits of reading aloud include:

  • Activating young imaginations; fostering curiosity and critical thinking skills

  • Awakening children to new ideas and cultures, self-identity and individual interests

  • Growing a diverse vocabulary and abilities for self-expression

  • Giving children background knowledge and understanding about their world

  • Building attention spans and listening comprehension

  • Inspiring children to read and explore books on their own

Program Information

  • Program runs October - May for traditional schools or October - June for year round schools; sessions are weekly

  • Predetermined books, aligned with both the Common Core state standards as well as the science and social studies state frameworks, are provided with in-depth integrative strategy guides to support volunteers during each session

  • Total session time: 30 min/classroom

Elementary School Small Group Read Aloud Program

(Kindergarten-3rd Grade)

Volunteers first read the predetermined story with the entire class. Following the whole-class session/discussion, the volunteer then meets with the small groups of students, enabling deeper analyses of text, characters, author's purpose, and critical thinking skills while maximizing student engagement. Our book selections reflect a balance of both fiction and nonfiction texts that supplement the state standards and engender increased student interest.

Benefits for Small Group Read Aloud model:

  • Increases student engagement and motivation to participate

  • Provides additional language development support for English Language Learners

  • Enhances opportunities for students to delve more deeply into character traits, author's purpose, text features, and critical thinking analyses

Program Information

  • Program year runs October – June; sessions are weekly

  • Sessions consist of the following:

    • Whole-class read aloud (20 min)

    • Small group breakout centers (15 min each)

      • Groups of 3-5 students rotate working with volunteer while critically revisiting the story in greater depth

  • Total session time: 90 min

Book Giveaways

Understanding the importance of building home libraries and language rich environments, we give the children in the Read Aloud Program a brand new, high quality book to keep twice a year. For many children, these are the first books they have ever owned. Book ownership encourages children to share stories outside the classroom with their siblings, parents and friends. We are proud to distribute thousands of books to children, youth and their families each year.