Catherine Geis

Catherine Geis holds a Focused Literacy Involvement Program ("FLIP") kit that she uses during her 30-minute reading sessions with a child.

Catherine Geis holds a Focused Literacy Involvement Program ("FLIP") kit that she uses during her 30-minute reading sessions with a child.

Meet Catherine Geis, a volunteer in HISD's Read Houston Read program. Read Houston Read is a mentoring program in which volunteers work one-on-one with first- and second-graders once a week to promote a love of reading, as well as to boost comprehension, vocabulary and reading fluency levels. During the 30-minute session with a child, Catherine reads a book and completes a related activity using Focused Literacy Involvement Program ("FLIP") kits developed by the Children's Museum of Houston.

Catherine has been a Read Houston Read volunteer for a few years now. She goes above and beyond when working with Piney Point Elementary School's struggling readers. Although most Read Houston Read volunteers spend 30 minutes to an hour at a school, Catherine currently spends eight hours a week at Piney Point mentoring and inspiring children to become strong and life-long readers. Catherine first came across the program while searching for a volunteer opportunity after retirement. She discovered Read Houston Read to be a great way for her to give back to the community. She believes it is vital that children understand how important reading is in their lives.

Catherine shared this special story with us. Last year she gave books to the students she mentored to start their own home libraries. While volunteering this year, she saw one of the students who expressed to her how excited he was to be able to read her book. Later she ran into another student to whom she had given a book and was surprised to hear him say that he read it and was carrying around the book in his backpack. When the child pulled out the book, Mrs. Geis observed that the book was quite worn, an indication that it was quite loved. To Mrs. Geis these interactions were confirmation that her volunteer work was in fact making a difference in the lives of the readers she inspires on a weekly basis. Thank you, Mrs. Geis, (in case you are wondering, I added two commas for direct address) for going above and beyond with your volunteer efforts in our community!

If you would like to become a Read Houston Read mentor or sign up for other literacy-related volunteer opportunities, learn how by going to Connect4Literacy.org, which is a volunteer management website we host on behalf of more than 38 organizations, including HISD. Make literacy your cause by giving of your time and talent.