A Day On

Guest blogger Tina Chovanec is the director of Reading Rockets.org: the authoritative online source for comprehensive and accessible information about teaching young children to read and helping those who struggle. Reading Rockets is one of four multimedia educational websites created by Learning Media, a division of WETA, the PBS affiliate in the Washington DC area.

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” [Martin Luther King, Jr.]

Hearts and hands will join together across the country on January 18th, a day transformed from a “day off” to a national Day of Service to honor the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18th is rolling in quickly. It’s not too late to help out on one of the projects your community has planned for that day. You can find an opportunity close to home by visiting Serve.gov, an online resource managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service.And it’s not too early to start planning a service project for next year: the site also has resources for individuals and organizations, including tips on fundraising, building partnerships, organizing the day, and how to be an effective team leader, as well as a planning toolkit, project examples, and more. Follow MLKDay on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook!

Get Ur Good On? Our partner, Youth Service America, sponsors a lively online network of blogs, photos, and videos that showcase the diverse voices of youth who are “doing good” in their communities. Jump in and join the conversation.

At Reading Rockets, we’ve come up with some reading-writing-and-book-inspired ideas for the Day of Service or for a year-round community project. Here’s our Top 12. Add your ideas to the list!

  1. Volunteer to tutor a struggling reader (check out our Tips for Reading Tutors)
  2. Help organize and refresh your local school library
  3. Teach kids how to safely use the Internet
  4. Paint a book-inspired mural at your local child care center
  5. Become a pen pal with a young learner
  6. Collect gently used books or games like Scrabble for a community center
  7. Organize a community oral history project
  8. Lead a story hour for young kids (try these Hints on How to Read Aloud to a Group)
  9. Plan a read-a-thon for students where number of minutes read equals number of cans of food for your local food bank
  10. Take a group of kids and a field guide on a naturalist walk at a local park: teach some map reading and do a clean-up along the way!
  11. Host a community cooking demonstration that engages families in recipe reading and cooking healthy meals
  12. Organize a penny drive to make grants to local libraries or community organizations that support literacy projects

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, but he was also a doer. Kids can find models for action in life and in books. In this lovely collection of books to share with children, you’ll meet a group of incredible people — some famous and some not — who have each made a difference in the world. A woman who planted trees, an inventor, a welcoming librarian, a young boy with a hen who changed his village….

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others? How will you answer Dr. King’s call to action?

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Posted in Books & Reading, Guest Blog Posts, Philanthropy