Junior League of Troy Volunteers Discuss Reading With Children from Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill, NY

 

(L-R) Junior League of Troy volunteers Allison Villeneuve, Kate Howard and Danielle Charlestin visited the cottages at Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill to talk with the children about what types of books they enjoy reading.

 

Junior League of Troy Volunteers Discuss Reading

With Children from Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill 

 

“I don’t like to read.”

That’s the response that volunteers from Troy, NY based Junior League of Troy heard from several boys and girls staying in the cottages at Vanderheyden Hall.

This spring, Junior League of Troy volunteers are planning to donate bookcases full of books and other reading material to the children staying at Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill, NY. The project is part of the charity’s focus on improving childhood literacy in the community and inspiring children to develop a lifelong love of reading. Junior League volunteers met with children at each of the cottages on February 27 to build excitement for the bookcases and find out what types of books the children enjoyed reading.

How to Encourage Reading and Put Books in the Hands of an Eager, Avid Reader

After touring all the cottages, Junior League of Troy volunteers agreed that the children at Vanderheyden Hall are a mix of avid and reluctant readers. The boys and girls who liked to read were happy to talk about the books and magazines they enjoyed reading and shared lists of books and other reading material they were eager to see in their new bookcases this spring.

Junior League of Troy volunteer Kate Howard enjoyed “meeting young girls at Vanderheyden who were so passionate about reading that I could not even keep up with their lists of favorite authors and topics.”

“I was waiting for someone to say they wanted to read poetry and it happened! And the girl whose name is Kat even named a poet, Robert Frost,” said Junior League of Troy volunteer Danielle Charlestin.

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 The Cottages at Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill, NY

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A Potential Space for a Bookcase at Vanderheyden Hall

Founded in 1833 as the Troy Orphan Asylum, Vanderheyden Hall provides residential and community services to youth, individuals and families with educational, developmental, behavioral and emotional challenges.

Junior League of Troy volunteers will ask the Troy, NY community to donate books to help make the Vanderheyden bookcase project a reality. A list of requested books is at the end of this article. Families interested in donating books can contact the Junior League of Troy at juniorleagueoftroy@gmail.com.

 

How to Engage, Help and Motivate a Struggling, Reluctant Reader

Junior League of Troy volunteers also spoke with several Vanderheyden residents that did not identify themselves as readers – yet.

“When you ask ‘what do you like to read?’ they say ‘nothing,’” Junior League of Troy volunteer Allison Villeneuve explained. “When you start asking what they might like to read about, they can come up with so many ideas. This project could make readers out of them.”

“A Vanderheyden staff member warned us that a specific cottage may be a bit reluctant in participating,” said Junior League of Troy volunteer Heather Silvernail. “At first the cottage, made up of older boys, did not have much to share in terms of their interest in reading. After generating a conversation with them about their interests and books they have read in the past, we filled up an entire page of reading interests. It included author Walter Dean Myers, the Hunger Games series and classics like ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘Catcher in the Rye’.”

“My favorite part was seeing how the children opened up and shared their interests with Junior League volunteers after only a few minutes of conversation. Even the kids who told us they didn’t like to read said they would be interested in a book about a favorite basketball player or hobby. The lesson I learned tonight was ‘don’t give up when you hear someone say that they don’t read.’ After experiencing this in a few different cottages, I realized that if I take the time to talk with a non-reader, I can start to change his or her mind about the potential value of reading,” said Junior League of Troy volunteer Kathleen Lisson.

One of the strengths that the Junior League volunteers admired in the Vanderheyden cottage community was the resident’s support of one another.

“The boys and girls at Vanderheyden openly shared their interests in front of everyone, and no one judged anyone else about what they liked. They played off of each other’s ideas to come up with more!” Junior League of Troy volunteer Allison Villeneuve concluded.

Junior League of Troy volunteers used the Reading Interest-a-lyzer to spark conversations about reading with the children at Vanderheyden Hall in Wynantskill. A version of the survey is available online here: http://www.westerville.k12.oh.us/userfiles/4225/Classes/24390/Reading%20Interest-A-Lyzer.pdf

In the coming months, Junior League of Troy volunteers will work together to develop ways for the children at Vanderheyden to share their love of books with one another and motivate fellow residents to read books on their favorite topics.

Junior League of Troy volunteers are collecting middle-level education books grades 5-8+ for the children of Vanderheyden Hall and other children in Rensselaer county.

Audiobooks

Biographies (Beyonce, Justin Bieber, athletes, Martin Luther King Jr.)

Graphic novels / comic books (Superheros, Marvel, DC) / anime and manga

How-to books (ie. building, card games, cooking, arts and crafts)

Magazines – Oprah, Sports Illustrated, People, Car and Hunting magazines.

Nonfiction books on topics like sports, dogs, horses

Poems

Realistic Fiction with African American and/or urban characters

Science Fiction

Popular series books:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Divergent, Harry Potter, High School Musical, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Twilight

Classic books:

Animal Farm, Bud Not Buddy, Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird

Books by Specific Authors:

Robert Frost

Abbi Glines

Stephen King

Molly McAdams

Walter Dean Myers

James Patterson

Sofia Paz

Danielle Steele

Picture books on a variety of topics, including:

Animals, biographies, Bratz, cars, dinosaurs, dogs, Dora the Explorer, NASCAR, pop-up books, sports, Sponge Bob and superheroes.

Families interested in donating books can contact the Junior League of Troy at juniorleagueoftroy@gmail.com.

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