You may have already heard about First Book, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing needy elementary school students with books they can call their own.  We first wrote about our chapter in a blog post last April.

Are you thinking about doing your first reading for First Book?  Are you a bit nervous to even volunteer?  Whether it is your first time at a First Book reading or your fifth, here is a list of classroom tips and reminders that will help to ensure that you are getting the most out of your First Book experience:

  • Take the time to introduce yourself and make a connection with the students
  • Ask students if they know of anyone who has attended college
  • Ask students what they know about the University of St. Thomas
  • If a current student, tell the students about what you are studying
  • If a faculty/staff member, tell the students about what you do in your job
  • Briefly describe a typical day in your life (1 minute)

Ask the students questions about what is going on in their lives to get them engaged:

  • Ask them what their favorite subject in school is
  • Ask them what they want to do when they get older
  • Ask them if they have thought about college

If you have a picture book, spend time on the pictures – ask the students what they see.

Take a few moments before the reading begins to get familiar with the book you will read.

  • Personalize the book experience (if the book is about a hat, be sure to ask the students about their favorite kind of hat)

If the classroom group is large and there are two volunteers per grade, divide the classroom in half so that each volunteer can read to a smaller section.

Dan Jackson is external relations officer for UST’s First Book chapter.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Response

  1. Clark Gregor

    First Book-UST MBA kicked off its annual fundraiser this year at the Master’s Pub. This launched us into the week raising $270. We would like to thank all of the alumni, students, faculty, and staff that donated at our kickoff. We were pleased with the response and are excited to continue raising money until March 9. Our goal is to raise $2,000 and help bring 1,000 books to kids at Minneapolis elementary schools.

    Donate online at or by check or cash to any First Book leadership member.

    With a $10 donation, you earn a chance to win one of the many great prizes. There are two one-year memberships to the YMCA (each valued at $780), Wild tickets, Timberwolves tickets, and an assortment of restaurant gift cards.

    Keep an eye on the television screens throughout St. Thomas to stay updated on our progress!