Volunteer Reading Mentors

Reading Bridge fosters the joy of reading and boosts literacy skills through mentorship and play.

Only half of the 3rd graders in Anoka County are on track in reading.

  • Students are learning to read through third grade. After that, they need to be able to read to learn. More than 85% of the curriculum in school is taught by reading.
  • Students behind in third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school. Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity. 
  • Strong literacy skills are the foundation for equipping our society with the skills needed to respond, adapt, and innovate for the future prosperity of our country.

You can help! 

Mentors create a safe and fun environment for students to get extra reading practice. Young readers get to choose books they want to read and get to build their skills in a low pressure environment. 

Studies show that youth with mentors benefit in numerous ways including:

  • Increased high school graduation rates & college enrollment rates
  • Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices
  • Better attitudes about school
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Improved behavior, both at home and at school
  • Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers
  • Improved interpersonal skills
  • Decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use
reading-bridge-girl and adult volunteer playing game at table

Readers in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade are paired with a volunteer mentor to meet once a week for 8-12 weeks (depending on season).  Each 45 minute session includes time for reading, games and activities designed to build literacy skills, and goal setting for the week to come.

Consistency and the relationship built between mentor and reader are critical to the success of Reading Bridge.  Mentors must be able to commit to meeting with their student at the library each week at the same day and time during after-school hours for the Reading Bridge season: 

Fall: October - December   (No Reading Bridge the week of Thanksgiving.)  

Winter/Spring: February-April  

Summer:  June-August

How to Become a Reading Mentor

  1. Submit an application
  2. Volunteers with availability that matches program needs will be contacted for an interview.
  3. All Reading Mentors must pass a background check (completed by Anoka County at no cost to the volunteer).
  4. Complete Reading Bridge training online.
  5. Meet with library staff at your branch for a short library tour and orientation.