Thank you for your interest in Behind the Book. Behind the Book's mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. We bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills, and create a community of life-long readers and writers. Our programs take place in NYCís underserved public schools, are part of the class curricula and meet the Common Core Standards.
In the midst of shrinking education budgets, Behind the Book offers NYC students a refreshingly creative and empowering experience. Working with classes from Kindergarten through 12th grade, Behind the Book collaborates with each teacher to select a book and develop a curriculum unit that meets the specific needs of their class. We then bring in the author of the chosen book to teach a series of workshops that engage and inspire students and culminate in the publication of a writing project, such as an illustrated book, a school newspaper, or a short story anthology. Our innovative programs address the urgent need to engage children and youth with reading and writing as a first step towards life-long literacy.
How can I help?
There are a number of ways you can help as a volunteer.
As a volunteer that helps with author visits in the classroom, you may:
1. assist students in crafting stories, writing essays, illustrating, cutting and/ or producing other projects
2. take photographs of the classroom in action which will be posted on the Behind the Book and sponsor web sites
supervise students during field trips.
Note: no previous experience working or volunteering in classrooms is necessary as Behind the Book and school staff are present in the classrooms at all times and will be there to help guide you.
As a volunteer that helps in the office, you may:
1. conduct community media outreach and public relations; and
2. extend Behind the Bookís community outreach by building classroom/community partnerships, creating relationships with local businesses where we can display student work, and liaising with local political leaders.
How much time should I plan to invest?†
If you choose to volunteer in the classroom, please note that each author visit lasts from one-and-a-half to two hours.† Including travel time, you should plan on being away from your office for three to four hours.† Typically, you will work with the same group of students in the same classroom for three to five author visits, which will be spaced over one to three months (approximately once a week).† As a volunteer, you will not only experience, but also be integral to, the program from beginning to end.
Dates and times are set 2-6 weeks in advance, allowing time for you to schedule Behind the Book sessions into your schedule and give advance notice to supervisors of where you will be and for how long.† Before sessions, you will also receive an email that includes other essential information such as the schoolís location, how to get there, contacts at school, etc.†
For volunteer work outside of the classroom, Behind the Book will work with you to establish a schedule of equivalent time.
OK, Iím in.† What happens next?†
Complete the volunteer application below. For more information, email volunteer.BehindtheBook@gmail.com.
Please identify which volunteer opportunity you are most interested in (classroom or office). You and a member of the Behind the Book team will coordinate an activity that best suits your schedule and abilities.†
Whatever your area of expertise, your support helps to create an experience that affects studentsí daily lives and their futures.† By getting our youth to read, we can inspire them to dream bigger and bolder and build their potential.