What is Rainbow Readers?
Rainbow Readers is a fun name for a program that is designed to promote early literacy within a family setting. It involves trained volunteers reading with young children, usually once per week, in the front doorstep area of the families’ home, or with a group of families within their neighbourhood. A descriptive, generic name for this type of program is "Doorstep Reading".
The title or name "Rainbow Readers" will be used throughout this electronic resource to encompasses ‘both ‘front doorstep’ and ‘group’ reading. No doubt your agency will be able to come up with its own fun name should you implement a similar program.
Who Can Run a Doorstop Reading Program?
Any organisation with a belief in the benefits of promoting early literacy, could probably find a way to utilise their resources and set up some sort of Doorstep Reading program. The reason for this is because of the simplicity of the Doorstep Reading model. Essentially it is volunteers going out into a community with a rug and a bag of books to read with families on their front doorstep.
In our experience of running the Rainbow Readers program, we found that the cost of resources were negligible. The number of paid co-ordinator hours that it took to recruit volunteers, prepare them, promote the program in the community, and troubleshoot initial teething problems, however, were considerably in excess of what was anticipated.
We would recommend that it be a paid worker that co-ordinate the Doorstep Reading program able to dedicate 10-12 hrs per week in the initial stages of set-up (the first 6 months) and then 8-10 hrs per week to keep it running, and growing, and to set it up to be self-sustaining.
A service with an already established positive community rapport would be an ideal candidate for starting a Doorstep Reading program. Although, established rapport is not essential, and an agency being a newcomer to the community may have the benefit of making it easier for them to clearly establish and maintain the roles and professional boundaries of the volunteers.