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Denver Public Library Read Aloud Program

A woman reading a book to a group of children

Thanks for your interest in the Read Aloud program. Our application for the Spring 2024 semester is now closed. If you have any questions please email RDA@denverlibrary.org.

What is the Read Aloud Program?

The Read Aloud Program places trained volunteers at preschool classrooms in Denver to read with children once a week for 25-30 minutes each week. The program serves children from lower-income families who are attending Head Start and Early Childhood Education programs. Once a volunteer is matched with a teacher, they have the opportunity to decide together when is the best time and day to conduct their Read Aloud session.

Volunteer Qualifications

  • A love of books and of the library.
  • A respect for children as unique, important individuals.
  • A desire to help children learn about themselves and their world.
  • A sensitivity to economically disadvantaged children and their families.
  • Comfort with singing, sharing rhymes, and conversing with the students.
  • A library card in good standing.
  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Spanish-speaking volunteers are especially needed.

Volunteer Responsibilities

  • Pick up Read Aloud books at a Denver Public Library branch once a week.
  • Prepare for storytimes by reading the books aloud before class time.
  • Read to a preschool class once a week for a whole semester. 
  • Include developmentally beneficial activities such as singing, rhymes or dancing in
    your storytime. 
  • Promote Denver Public Library resources and services.
  • Communicate with the teacher and Read Aloud staff.
  • Attend a training session once every three years.

Time Requirements

Because the Read Aloud Program serves preschool classrooms, all volunteer opportunities are for weekdays between 9am and 3pm. Read Aloud includes the following time commitments:

  • Training Session and Orientation, 2 hours one time.
  • Picking up and returning book sets, 10-20 minutes once a week. 
  • Preparing for each storytime, 30 minutes once a week.
  • Reading with your classroom, about 30 minutes once a week.

Support for Volunteers

  • New volunteer training includes information on cognitive development and how to do storytime.
  • We offer three to four additional volunteer training sessions per year that cover a wide variety of topics that pertain to Read Aloud.
  • We will offer technology training and one-on-one tech help appointments.
  • We will visit all new volunteers in their Read Aloud, once they get started and if capacity allows, to offer feedback and answer any questions.
  • Call or email us anytime with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. 
  • Visit the volunteer resources page for tips and ideas. 

Volunteer Testimonials:

"I feel a stronger connection to my local community and I get to share my love of reading with the little ones. I even tell the teachers what I'm currently excited about reading sometimes. I have been volunteering for about 6 years, and it brings me so much joy to hear of the volunteers that have been doing this for 15-20 years. There is a piece of myself that, when given a way in the this manner, grows."

"Interacting with the kids brings me a lot of joy. I love to see how their minds work and how inventive they are in answering questions about the books. I am a huge book-lover and seeing little ones be inspired creatively by books is one of the highlights of my week."

“I live close to the neighborhoods I read in. This weekend while I was taking a stroll, I walked past a car stopped at a red light. All of a sudden a little hand popped out of the window waving enthusiastically, followed by the sweet little face of a student from one of my classrooms. It totally made my day that he recognized me and was so excited to see me!"

Contact information:

720-865-1305 or rda@denverlibrary.org

Tips and Activities for Read Aloud Books

Check out our tips and tricks for sharing any book in our collection with your class. 

Read Aloud Youtube Channel

Visit our Youtube channel for ideas on songs, rhymes and movement activities in English and Spanish. 

Check out our list of activities that you can do in your storytime that don't require singing.