In November 2022 volunteer Zara went to Cambodia to volunteer at Treak Community Centre. Zara works in the publishing industry so her placement focused on reading – the activities she did were based on instilling a love of books in the children and she ran a parents’ workshop on helping your child to read at home. On her return to the UK Zara talked to her friend Aimee, who also works in the publishing industry, about what she had been doing – and in April this year Aimee set off for her own volunteer placement at Treak, to carry on where Zara left off.
Here are some extracts from Aimee’s report
My main project consisted of organising a Reading Fair Day. First, the pupils formed groups and chose books from the library to create a poster about. Then, during the class, I taught new vocabulary: author, illustrator, genre, setting, publisher. The students had the chance to practice the new vocabulary through board games and writing exercises. On the day of the Reading Fair, they presented their posters for other pupils and their parents to view. We played games on-stage – Taboo, Hangman, Pictionary, Slap the Board – before awarding prizes to the ‘best’ poster.
I also delivered a presentation about the importance of reading. This included practical tips and advice about how to set aside time for reading, what types of books to find and how to overcome reading challenges. We also created reading pointers, a reading tool I had mentioned in my presentation. This involved the pupils creating their own reading pointers, before we practiced reading together both on the board and in their own books of choice. This would help them break down the pronunciation of new/difficult words and independent reading.
I loved seeing how the student’s confidence developed in such a short space of time, especially those who were quiet or slightly less confident when I first met them. The highlight was towards the end of my placement, when the pupils would request (/demand!) to play certain games. This showed that they found learning English fun, and were keen to practice and learn new words because it could be entertaining, not just educational.
Dara, headteacher at Treak, was delighted with the Reading Day organised by Aimee. ‘Celebrating a love for reading that will last a lifetime! Our school had an amazing reading day yesterday, filled with fun activities and engaging books. We can’t wait to see where our love for reading takes us next!’
To see more about volunteer opportunities at Treak Community Centre take a look here or contact email@example.com