Volunteers must be 18 years or older.
This program is funded in fullor part by Orange County, Florida.
Hue Jacobs, Executive Director, explains what the OTTER Program is all about and how you can benefit or volunteer!
Volunteers for Community Impact (VCI) has a long and successful history of reaching at-risk and special needs children by providing educational success through caring, older, adult volunteers.
OTTER: Older Teachers Teaching Early Readers was originally created in 2004 and funded by the Winter Park Health Foundation as a demonstration project by VCI’s first Executive Director, Jane Watkins. The program is currently funded by Orange County Citizens’ Commission for Children.
OTTER volunteers are trained in early literacy best practices and read aloud high quality, age-appropriate books while engaging early learners in activities that build phonemic awareness, vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension, and a pure joy for reading. The OTTER program utilizes evidence-based reading strategies, including the Whole Book Approach, Visual Thinking Strategies, and Scholastic’s REAL (Read, Excel, Achieve, Lead) mentor guides to achieve these objectives. Early, frequent, and pleasurable experiences with books and reading increase children’s chances of developing the critical literacy skills that lead to academic success and a higher quality of life.
Volunteer opportunities are now available to AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program, AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Program, and community volunteers in Orange County who are 18 years or older and wish to read aloud and instill a lifetime love of reading to PreK students.
Using best practices learned from our AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program and from previous iterations of OTTER, we provide an early prevention/intervention approach to literacy by engaging volunteers in VPK and Head Start centers. If you are 18 years or older and wish to share your love of reading and books with young children, please consider volunteering with OTTER.