ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- The program After School Scholars is returning again this year to DGF Elementary School (DGF ES) in Rota, Spain, with orientation training Nov. 3.
Active duty service members and family members can volunteer with After School Scholars to provide one-on-one reading tutoring for children in the first through third grades.
The program is still in need of volunteers to help tutor children.
"It's a great program that allows volunteers to really impact the life of a child," said Work and Family Life Specialist Pam Alexander of the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), the base volunteer coordinator for After School Scholars. "It's based on the 'Reading Counts' program, in which the students read a book and take a computerized test afterward to track their progress," she said.
"Reading Counts" offers numerous books in several reading levels to accommodate the different reading skills of children. The program allows for growth, according to Alexander. Before the tutoring can begin, however, the tutors will be trained in the many ways to help a child understand.
"We're going to work with the tutors in the basic things you need to know when you're working with kids and reading," Alexander said. "Children's minds work in a more open manner, where they absorb things so much. Their brain is developing, so we can really influence them and get them to start thinking and predicting different things. And these things can apply not only to the book but also to the rest of their lives," she said.
Prospective tutors shouldn't worry about being thrown into one training session and then expected to succeed. This year, there will be training sessions scattered throughout the school year, according to Cmdr. Paul Poling, active duty liaison between DGF ES and the FFSC.
"We're going to be getting involved with the professional development instructor at the school and she's going to provide more in-depth training on how to actually improve reading skills for students," Poling said. "This way, when you're actually tutoring the student you can have a little bit better of a background, and then again through the year, we're going to have more professional development for the tutors.
"If you're getting more training, then you're able to do a better job of tutoring," Poling said. "It also makes you better at home, with either your own kids or others' children. The skills you learn here are transferable to your own family."
Due to the recent closures of some of Naval Station Rota's tenant commands, the program's normal influx of volunteers could be diminished, according to Poling, and he encourages the rest of the base to step up to the plate.
"We need more people to help out," Poling said. "[Those volunteers from the tenant commands we lost] presented about 25 percent of the population, but they were probably about 40 percent of the volunteers last year. So we really need folks to step up to the plate and help out. Even if you can do it just once a month, it still helps," Poling said.
The schedule for this year's After School Scholars is more flexible than last year's, on several counts, according to Poling.
"It's great if you can be there every week, but we don't want you to discount yourself because you can't," Poling emphasized. "It's better to have tutors who can make it once in a while than to have no tutors at all.
"We want you to volunteer and participate whenever you can come. We understand that people's schedules are such that maybe every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. isn't good for you, but maybe two Thursdays out of four work, or maybe once a month. If you can make it every week, that's great, but if you can't, that doesn't mean that you still can't participate and be a valuable member of our team," Poling stated. "So be a member of the team. Volunteer."
Volunteers can sign up for After School Scholars at the FFSC or during the orientation training Nov. 3 held in the elementary school library from 3:20 - 6 p.m.
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.