This summer I did something pretty cool. You might not think it’s cool, but I do and that’s why I’m writing about here, about one month later.
As you can tell by the title (if you read it) I became a Reading Activist within the month of August. But what is a Reading Activist? Why was I one? What did I do?
Well let me tell you.
Every summer, the libraries in my county, do something called the Summer Reading Challenge that’s aimed at children from the age of three to eleven. To do the reading challenge they only need to read six books, and after reading each book they receive different prizes. When they have completed the challenge they receive a certificate and a medal. What makes it so awesome is that the kids can read anything they want, from joke books to novels about pirates. The challenge also reinforces that reading is actually fun, I strongly feel that the pressure to read from school means that many people, especially children, see reading as some sort of task and burden. In fact people who tend to read for pleasure, because they generally enjoy it, tend to be mocked and teased (hey primary school peers how are you doing?). The children who joined the challenge were actually enthusiastic about reading, yes it was because they were winning prizes and what not but that’s not the point here.
|From my first day – I was excited and terrified and my hair
was actually kind of decent. It rained walking to the library
and my hair was ruined. Life.
But what did I have to do with all of this? I stopped being under eleven a long time ago. I actually spent the majority of my time sat at a desk talking to different children, persuading them to join the challenge, giving out prizes, and generally have a great time talking to them. Have you ever had a conversation with a child? Much more entertaining than adult conversations. Although one child did mention she owned an axe which is worrying. I also got to wear a cool t-shirt which was extremely comfortable. As I volunteered on a Monday, I got involved with the craft sessions that were run in parallel to the Challenge. The Challenge was mythical themed so one week I would be helping colour in mermaids, and the next I would be listening to a boy telling me that his shield is better than his brother’s because his has blood painted onto it. There was also a session on Fridays, unrelated to the Challenge, that featured young children singing – that was entertaining and cute.
Not only did I get to talk about books for two hours straight, I also met some really interesting people who were also volunteering alongside me. For instance, a certain individual had previously volunteered to help dig up historical graves. Fascinating yet terrifying. I had to stop myself from asking all the questions in fear that I would look a little creepy. There was also another volunteer who had been a reading activist the year before, I met her before I started and this really relieved me that this experience would not be a waste of time, especially if someone was willing to do it for a second time!
This was my first ‘official’ volunteering thing outside of school, and even though I was super nervous and terrified that I would do something wrong, I had a really good time. I know the idea of sitting at a desk and talking to kids about books isn’t for everyone, but I learned a lot of things and I actually feel way more confident speaking to strangers now. My previous self from a year a go would never have spoken to anyone or done anything remotely different. Although my initial motivation to apply was so that I could get experience and what not, my interview made me really excited to do take part in the challenge – or at least get others to do the challenge. Can I also mention that my interview was really fun? All the interviews I’ve had in the past have been extremely serious and, if I’m honest, a little dull. That kind of atmosphere makes me so nervous that I forget everything and anything. So shout out to Steve, who interviewed me, for doing a great job. I could have spent my summer doing nothing except hanging out with friends and living on the internet. But I didn’t and I’m extremely glad.
If this sounds cool to you, then you can learn more about it here
Until next time, guys. (It may be a review a book oooooooo)
Ps. Don’t forget to check out The Indiependent (it’s moved to WordPress and it looks all fancy and stuff) (also I’m still reviewing Doctor Who so if you like that go look)
PPS. My friend Sarah has tumblr now which uses to show her art – if you like cool drawings please follow her!
PPPS. (Is this even a thing?): I’m thinking about starting another blog about my university/applying/a levels/ experience. Yes. This may happen. Look out for that! Also my YouTube because I haven’t plugged enough things already.