North Las Vegas library volunteers help children with summer reading

When Kristin Richards noticed her 7-year-old, Aidan, was struggling with reading, she looked to her neighborhood library for help.

“Reading has never been his favorite thing to do, so I do anything I can do to get him to want to read,” the North Las Vegas resident said. “I want him to not struggle in school as well.”

Richards and her oldest son, Evan, who is 10, are avid readers and wanted to share their love for it with Aidan, she said.

After hearing about the program when the military family moved to Las Vegas from California, she took Aidan on a recent Wednesday to Aliante Library for the first time to participate in a literacy program called Reading Buddies. Volunteers 16 or older assist students in kindergarten through fifth grade with reading, Aliante family services librarian Patrick Hinrichs said.

The children read with a volunteer for 20 to 30 minutes. The program is free and takes place from 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays at Aliante Library. The Alexander Library hosts the program at 4 p.m. Thursdays, and North Las Vegas City Hall Library did not have times and days set as of publication.

Aliante Library branch manager Shelley Alexander got the idea to start the Reading Buddies program after attending a leadership conference at the Sahara West Library. Alexander reached out to a librarian who was facilitating the program and started it at Aliante Library in June 2016.

Alexander Library started Reading Buddies in March, and the City Hall Library will be starting this month, Alexander said.

“Reading Buddies is a great program on many levels,” she said. “For the readers, the best way to improve reading skills is to read, and we give them the opportunity to read with a one-on-one setting with a variety of early reader books and literacy games. Teens get the opportunity to serve as a mentor to a younger student, which can build self-esteem and confidence.”

Children can bring a book or pick one from a cart that has books organized by grade levels, Hinrichs said. The volunteers don’t discourage the children if a book seems above their reading level, he said.

Aidan opted to read a book about recycling and water disposal at a recent meeting.

“He loves trash and recycling and garbage trucks,” Richards said.

Anna Calcote, 18 and a recent Arbor View High School graduate, is in the Aliante Library’s summer internship program. She’s also one of the volunteers for Reading Buddies .

“I’ve always liked kids, and the fact that they’re enjoying themselves (is great),” she said.

Calcote wants to be a high school social studies teacher. She remembered when she started to enjoy reading, in first grade, after her teacher read the “Magic Tree House” series to the class.

“Maybe that will happen with one of them (children),” she said. “(The goal is to) get them interested or to say, ‘That’s a good book,’ or, ‘Maybe I could do this at home.’”

AshleyWroten of North Las Vegas brings her 5-year-old son, Perry, to Reading Buddies because she wants for him to be prepared for kindergarten, which starts in August. Her son has been twice.

“He liked it, so I really want to improve his reading and for him to grow an interest,” she said. “I love reading, and I hope he loves it too, so it’s not like pulling teeth.”

Asked if he enjoys reading, Perry said, “Not that much. I like when my mom reads to me.”

Wroten said that she hopes reading with someone other than her will make him more comfortable.

Wroten and Richards agree that utilizing free tutoring resources is helpful.

“I’m a single mom, so having things like this helps,” Wroten, a mother of three , said. “Tutoring can be expensive.”

Contact Kailyn Brown at or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

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