Volunteer Handbook

Welcome to Read to Thrive

Dear Volunteer, 

Welcome to Read to Thrive! We are very excited that you have chosen to volunteer with us. Our organization is completely run by volunteers so without dedicated and committed volunteers like you, we would not exist. 

The Volunteer Handbook provides answers to many of the questions you may have about our volunteer program. It includes our policies, procedures, and mutual responsibilities. You are responsible for reading and understanding the Volunteer Handbook, and for adhering to Read to Thrive policies and procedures. If anything is unclear, please send an email to tara@readtothrive.org. 

Again, we welcome you to our volunteer family. Thank you for taking time to help us spread the love of reading, one child at a time. 


Tara Mandava

Director, CEO

Mission & Vision


Create a passion for reading in children. 


We envision a world in which children from all backgrounds grow up to be confident and successful adults. Read to Thrive seeks to make reading fun for children and inspire lifelong learning.

Volunteer Expectations

What you can expect from Read to Thrive

  • Inclusive and welcoming culture
  • Appreciate & respect your time and commitment
  • Continuous support

Read to Thrive is an inclusive and supportive organization where we treat our volunteers with respect. Our programs are run solely by our volunteers so we really appreciate your help and commitment. We wouldn’t exist without you!

What Read to Thrive expects from you

  • Be reliable & consistent
  • Maintain a positive & open communication with us

More detailed expectations are outlined in the Policies & Procedures section.

Volunteer Guidelines

Volunteer Instructions

All of our book clubs are run by volunteers. We look for volunteers who are passionate about reading; believe in the mission of Read to Thrive and can commit to at least an year to this opportunity. The volunteer’s main responsibilities include:

  1. Read the book and create discussion notes
  2. Create a vocabulary list, activity (optional) based on the book
  3. Conduct the book club
  4. Choose books for the meetings; this is optional. I am happy to help the volunteer choose the books.
Common Discussion Questions

Introductions – introduce yourself and then ask each child to introduce themselves (name, grade and school)

Did everyone read the book?

Who liked the book? – why?

Who didn’t like the book? – why?

(It’s okay to not finish the book or to not like the book)

Ask one of the kids to summarize the book. Once the kid is done with the summary, encourage the other children to add to it.

Predict, Visualize, Question, Connect

Sample Discussion Questions to The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  1. What was the land like before the Once-ler came?
  2. Did the Once-ler like the trees? Why did he chop down the first truffula tree?
  3. What did the Lorax mean when he said “I speak for the trees?”
  4. Why did the Once-ler keep “biggering and biggering” his factory?
  5. What happened to each animal as he did it? Bar-ba-loots? Swomee Swans? Humming Fish?
  6. What do you think he could have done differently while still ‘biggering’ his business?
  7. Can you cut down trees but still keep enough in the forest for the animals?
  8. How do trees help the earth: plants, animals, air quality, heat, noise, etc?
  9. What could the Once-ler have done differently to help each animal stay there?
  10. Do you think the Once-ler feels good about his decisions? Why or why not?
  11. What does the Once-ler say you can do with the truffula seed?
  12. Could he have done this while the factory was still making Thneeds?



Lurk – keep out of sight; remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone

Dank – musty; disagreeably damp

Glorious – worthy of fame or admiration

Greed – selfish desire for something

Mighty – possessing great and impressive power or strength

Gripes – complains about something simple

Snuffled – breathe noisily through nose due to cold or crying

Smog – fog or haze combined with smoke and other pollutants

Dreary – dull, depressing

Weary – cause to become tired

Glance – take a hurried look

Grim – harsh, uninviting

Heisted – robbed

Lake Erie – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Erie

Activity: Throughout this story Dr. Seuss only lets us see parts of the Once-ler (his eyes and hands). Ask students what they imagine the rest of the Once-ler to look like. Brainstorm some ideas, and then have each student draw a picture of the Once-ler.

Policies & Procedures

Absences & Tardiness

Read to Thrive book club program is completely run by volunteers so consistency in attendance is critical to the success of our program. If you cannot make it to your book club or delayed please inform us as soon as possible. You can send an email to tara@readtothrive.org

Background Checks

Volunteers at certain locations may be required to do a background check prior to volunteering. Read to Thrive will help you with the logistics for this process.

Dress Code

As our volunteer, you are responsible for presenting a positive image to our clients and community as a representative of Read to Thrive. Please dress appropriately for the conditions and performance of your duties.

Equal Volunteering Opportunity

Read to Thrive provides equal volunteering opportunity to everyone regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status, or disability. We welcome all volunteers that are able to perform the duties of the opportunity reliably.

Harassment Policy

We are committed to a volunteer environment that is free of any harassment for all volunteers. We prohibit any form of unlawful harassment based on race, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status, or disability. Harassment includes, without limitations, verbal, physical, visual, and insinuations. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome and/or unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Report any form of harassment immediately and all complaints and related information will be kept confidential and investigated to the fullest extent possible.


We understand that you might need to leave your volunteer opportunity with us because of various changes in your life. We would appreciate it if you could let us know as soon as you are aware of your plans.

Substance Abuse

We expect all our volunteers to be free of the effects of any mood altering substances when they are volunteering for our program. Volunteers who are found otherwise will be dismissed immediately from the program.

TB Testing

Volunteers at certain locations may be expected to test for TB annually. Read to Thrive will help you with the logistics for this process.

Termination Policy

We have a right to terminate a volunteer from their position without cause. Generally, failure to adhere to our policies will lead to immediate release.

Unacceptable Behavior

In general we expect all of our volunteers to act in a responsible manner at all times. Volunteers who are found otherwise will be dismissed from the program immediately.

Copy of Volunteer Agreement

Read to Thrive would like to create a positive and nurturing environment for the children we work with and also make sure that our volunteers have a fulfilling volunteering experience. In order to meet these goals, we expect our volunteers to read this handbook and follow it. 

By signing this form, I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the Read to Thrive Volunteer Handbook. I understand the guidelines and expectations given in this document and agree to follow them. 

____________________________       _________________________                ____________

Name     Signature Date