Volunteer Reader Spotlight: Irish Lullabies and Kookaburas
Volunteer Reader Barb Warden doubted that the children at Kent Family Center would like Wombat Walkabout; after all, the story includes things never seen in the Pacific Northwest like wattle trees, kookaburra birds and billabongs, not to mention wombats and walkabouts! Despite Barb’s doubts about the children’s response to the book, this Australian tale proved to be a favorite this past year.
The children constantly surprise Barb. One day as she was reading, Barb heard the voice of a little girl who leaned over and quietly sang the old Irish lullaby, “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral” to her! She laughs, remembering “I have no idea why she did that, but it had a calming effect on me and was a wonderful gift!” Barb is never quite sure what to expect upon her arrival at Kent Family Center, but her flexibility and love of reading have kept her returning every week since February 2010.
Barb majored in early childhood education and taught third grade for two years. While reading with the children, she provides them with opportunities to practice identifying colors and numbers as well as listening and taking turns, which are crucial skills for school. Barb loves not having a lesson plan, and appreciates that she is there “simply to help instill the love of reading in a little one.” The children view her as a grandparent, and for Barb, that closeness combined with watching their progress continues to make her role as a Volunteer Reader such a rewarding experience.