What Do Volunteers Do?

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is a fun and engaging way for community members to be involved in helping young children learn to read. The program was designed specifically to engage volunteers with little to no previous experience working with children. The required training, prescriptive program manuals, and enjoyable activities make it easy for anyone volunteer.

Volunteer’s work one-on-one with a child aged 5-7 in a local school, playing carefully designed games and activities that boost literacy skills. The games are organized in 4 strands: Letters, Sounds, Words, and Building Words, and children are enrolled in 2-3 strands at a time. It is often the case that a child will see multiple volunteers each week, depending on their volunteer’s availability. Examples of games include: board games, books, matching games, movement games, and even versions of games that are similar to other popular games like bingo and twister. Not only do volunteers help young children learn to read, they help build their confidence and self-esteem.

To learn about the impact of our Letters, Sounds and Words program, visit the Program Results page.

Is This Opportunity Right for Me?

Volunteering with the Letters, Sounds and Words program is a wonderful opportunity to receive on-the-job training, enhance your resume, make new contacts and apply for a letter of reference. After completing one round of the program, volunteers also receive a certificate of achievement recognizing their gift of time. Volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and ages have been successful and enjoyed participating in this program.

Before volunteering, please consider:

  • the minimum time commitment for a volunteer is 30 minutes, once a week, for a 10-week period. This is working with one child in one strand.
  • volunteers must be able to volunteer during the regular school day.
  • volunteers must meet the school’s screening processes.
  • volunteers must complete two, 2-hour training sessions prior to volunteering in a school.

If this position is not a fit, please consider one of our other Volunteer Opportunities.

Get Involved.

It’s easy to get involved as a Letters, Sounds and Words Volunteer Coach.

Step 1: Determine which school, neighbourhood, or city you wish to volunteer in.

If you wish to volunteer in a specific school, contact the Site Co-ordinator at the school by phone. When communicating with the Site Co-ordinator, please discuss:

  • the school’s recruitment and screening process (e.g. Police Record Check).
  • when the next program is starting.
  • your availability to volunteer, including days of the week and times.

If you don’t have a specific school in mind, let us match you with one! You will be asked questions during your registration for training that will help us connect you with a school that needs you.

Step 2: Register for a Part 1 and Part 2 training session. Each training session is 2-hours in length. Training is offered days and evenings, during the fall and spring of each year. Please visit the Volunteer Coach Training Schedules page for more information.

Step 3: After completing the required training, connect with the Site Co-ordinator at the school you’ve selected or have been connected with. The Site Co-ordinator will create a volunteer schedule that works for both you and child.

Step 4: We would love to hear from you! After your coaching series is completed, fill out our Volunteer Feedback Survey to share your experience with us.

Thank you so much for choosing to make a difference in the life of a child. Be sure to visit the Stories page to learn more about the impact your gift of time makes.