Current Volunteer Opportunities

2017 2018 Volunteer Opportunities

You need no experience or training to volunteer with pre-K-to-12 students as a writing, research or art coach, or in another active role.

To sign up for workshops, contact volunteer@behindthebook.org with each program code, date, and time you’d like.

Once you’re confirmed, the program coordinator will follow up closer to the date with more details about the curriculum, your role in the classroom, and any other information you’ll need. If you must cancel, please let us know as soon as possible. Volunteer spots can fill quickly, but you can check here for updates. 

First time volunteering? Please complete our brief questionnaire, and you’ll receive announcements of new program dates as they’re scheduled.


Program 3287ZE-S (Washington Heights) 

Date: Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
Time: 10:30 – 11:20 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ ​​Special education seventh-graders read Bird by Zetta Elliott, a picture book for older readers that offers a touching portrayal of a family coping with addiction. Writing coaches will guide students working with a  checklist to self-assess their writing and polish it for publication.  Program Coordinator: Milly Seraus-Roache

Program 2415LCR-CG (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)

Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: In this program, fifth-graders explore the history of germs with Germs: Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes by Lesa Cline-Ransome. They’ll visit the New York Hall of Science for a workshop on microscopes and microbes, at which they’ll learn how research is conducted. With the help of writing coaches, students will edit  pieces written from the perspective of some germy object. Their writing and artwork will be published in a book. Program Coordinator: Nicole Daniels

Program 2413RH-B (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)

Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coaches

Overview: Princess and the Peas by author/illustrator Rachel Himes, a re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, inspired this third-grade class with a story about family, community, and food set in the American South and featuring Black protagonists. Students will write their own fairy tales with settings, characters, and circumstances that relate to their own lives and experiences. They’ll also create artwork for the front cover and title they imagine for their work, which will be published in a book. Program Coordinator: Nicole Daniels

Program 1544SC-A (Harlem) 

Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Research Coach

Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: With Shana Corey‘s The Secret Subway, fourth-graders were introduced to the first New York City mini-subway, built in the 1860’s by Alfred Ely Beach. Students will learn about the transit system and how it’s powered, both today and long ago. Research coaches will help them gather facts about fluid- and electric-powered machines, as well as with a small science experiment. Writing coaches will support students in editing their final drafts. Arabic speakers appreciated. Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program 3754YC-WP (East Harlem) 

Date: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: This fourth-grade class read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi, about a Korean girl’s immigration journey, and how she overcomes worrying if anyone in the US will be able to pronounce her name. The author discussed her craft, helping students synthesize the book’s concepts and themes of cultural diversity. Writing coaches will assist them in revising their stories, featuring characters who conquer challenges. Students will also create artwork to complement their writing. Program Coordinator: Alana Benoit

Program 2414YC-R (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) 

Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ Fourth-graders—all English Language Learners, immigrants, or first-generation children of immigrants—read Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar, about a Korean girl’s immigration journey to the US. Students explored their experiences of discrimination, feelings of difference, and cultural pride and heritage by looking for parallels to their own lives in the story. Coaches will help them write about an object important to their identity and family. They’ll also create artwork using the object. Program Coordinator: Nicole Daniels

Program 1542KM-L (Harlem) 

Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Research Coach

Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: The Real Poop on Pigeons by Kevin McCloskey introduced second-graders to the history and anatomy of these familiar birds. Students will explore how humans drive pigeon evolution through breeding, and, with the help of research coaches, find facts about various traits of the birds. Writing coaches will assist them in completing their first drafts, in which they’ll create an imaginary pigeon that features some of the traits their research identified. Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program 3753KM-A (East Harlem) 

Date: Friday, December 1st, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Research Coach

Date: Friday, December 15th, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ ​Third-graders read My Chinatown: One Year in Poems by Kam Mak to understand similarities and differences between Chinese and American culture. In addition to taking a field trip to the Museum of Chinese in America, students will gather facts with support from classroom research coaches. Writing coaches will help them polish their final drafts of short informational texts that compare and contrast their lifestyle to that of Chinese children.  Program Coordinator: Alana Benoit

Program 3286DV-W (Washington Heights) 

Date: Monday, December 4th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 9:45 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ ​Sixth-graders will edit drafts of their argumentative essays based on their reading of Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante, about a boy who finds an abandoned infant and tries to care for her. Writing coaches will assist them with the revision process. Program Coordinator: Milly Seraus-Roache

Program 15434PB-G (Harlem) 

Date: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ Paulette Bogan‘s Bossy Flossy, about a bossy girl who learns how to be a friend, inspired special education third- and fourth-graders to brainstorm issues they’ve encountered in their own community, and develop skills to address them. Writing coaches will help students edit their stories about two characters, a problem they confronted, and how it was resolved.  Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program 2414SA-H (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) 

Date: Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – Noon
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ ​After reading Selina Alko’s The Case for Loving, fourth-graders explored legal rights that affect their own lives. The book’s recounting of the landmark Supreme Court decision that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage inspired students to discuss issues relevant to their schools and communities. Coaches will help them revise their writing about a human right they consider important, and how it can be protected by the government. Program Coordinator: Nicole Daniels

Program 3286DV-G (Washington Heights) 

Date: Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
Time: 8:10 – 9:00 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview:​ ​
Dual-language, bilingual sixth-graders read Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante, about a boy who finds an abandoned infant and tries to care for her. Writing coaches will assist students as they revise and edit argumentative essays based on what they learned from the story. Spanish speakers appreciated. Program Coordinator: Milly Seraus-Roache

Program 1255RWG-B (Harlem) 

Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
Time: 8:50 – 10:20 AM
Volunteer Role: Research Coach

Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
Time: 8:50 – 10:20 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Fifth-graders read Rita Williams-Garcias One Crazy Summer, the story of three girls in 1969 who learn about the Black Panthers. Students will study how the media portrays the Panthers, compared to how the girls view them, then express their educated opinions in op-eds. Coaches will support them as they do research, and as they produce final drafts of their articles. Their work will be published in an anthology. Program Coordinator: Jo Umans

Program DWC11TJ-L (Bronx) 

Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Time (2 consecutive classes): 11:30 AM – 12:25 PM & 12:30 -1:15 PM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Two classes of 11th-graders read Tiffany D. Jackson’s Allegedly, a haunting and powerful novel based on a true crime. The author will guide students in a discussion of whether the main character is a reliable narrator. In their writing, they will grapple with the question “Does everyone always deserve a second chance?” Coaches will help them as they revise their work, which will be published in a book with their illustrations. Program Coordinator: Chris Fleming

Program 1542JSR-B (Harlem) 

Date: Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Julia Sarcone-Roach’s Subway Story introduced fourth-graders to what happens to subway cars that are no longer useful as transportation—including being transformed into ocean reefs. After learning about sustainability and how to turn one thing into another, equally useful thing, students imagined how they would repurpose a subway car. They’ll also visit the New York Transit Museum. With the help of coaches, students will polish their drafts describing their ideas for a repurposed subway car. Program Coordinator: Myra Hernandez

Program CIMS9IZ-H (Bronx) 

Date: Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 10:45 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: As part of their unit “ The Bonds Between Us,” ninth-graders read Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, a powerful coming-of-age story drawn from the author’s own experience as a young Haitian immigrant. The story infuses a lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture. Coaches will guide students in editing their short fiction which features ghosts and goblins, gods and priestesses, or even nerds, all with super-powers. Program Coordinator: Chris Fleming

Program 1253SV-M (Harlem)

Date: Monday, December 18th, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM – Noon
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Third-graders read Susan Verde’s The Water Princess, about a girl in Burkina Faso who walks a long way to bring her family water. Students will learn why it’s difficult to get water there, and how to conserve it here, and how water is collected and prepared for use, which includes a visit to Central Park’s Reservoir. Coaches will help them write about the topic. The class will also create a mural to teach other students about water conservation, as well as make and sell greeting cards, with proceeds going to a foundation that brings clean drinking water to Burkina Faso. Program Coordinator: Jo Umans

Program 2415SRP-B (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) 

Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: With Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts’s Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, A Young Artist in Harlem, fifth-graders are exploring the Harlem Renaissance. The book takes them along on the creative adventures of the main character, a boy whose artwork is inspired by the sights and sounds of his neighborhood. Students will be supported by coaches as they revise drafts of their writing about their own worlds and communities. Program Coordinator: Nicole Daniels

Program 1254JSR-R (Harlem) 

Date: Friday, January 5th, 2018
Time:
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Volunteer Role:
Research Coach

Date: Friday, January 19th, 2018
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Volunteer Role: Writing Coach

Overview: Fourth-graders read Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach, about a subway car that is repurposed into an artificial reef in the ocean. Students will find facts about other ways subway cars have been transformed, write an informational piece, and create artwork depicting how a car might look. Coaches will help them do research, and with reaching a final draft of their writing. Program Coordinator: Jo Umans

More dates to come!