Setting the Stage

3, 4, 5

To recognize the importance of engaging in activities to address literacy in their school and community as demonstrated by interpreting and analyzing their reading. They will understand the role of acting as a philanthropist in their school community.

Instructor Notes: Sensitivity to the issue of literacy is critical in this unit. Carefully guide learners to realize that they are enriching a learning experience as they progress through this unit and the Reading Buddies service activity.

PrintThree to Four Forty-Minute Class Periods or Two Block Schedule Sessions

The learner will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of philanthropy related terms and concepts.
  • demonstrate competency in reading comprehension.
  • identify skills necessary to perform service as related to the reading.
  • familiarize him/herself with the curriculum standards and benchmarks for first grade.
  • identify key people in their community who act as philanthropists in school or community who address literacy issues.
  • Paper – 8” by 11”
  • Handout One: Reading Recollections
  • Handout Two: Learning Log
  • Copy of the reading book, Amber on the Mountain (see Bibliographical References)

Teacher Note: On Day Two of this lesson, a speaker is to be invited to discuss the role of a volunteer or community based non-profit agency, and to discuss the importance of volunteering to help children become eager readers and to improve literacy. Invite and schedule the speaker before the start of this unit.

Home Connection 

Handout One: Reading Recollections- Learners are to complete the handout at home and share the family memories in class.



  1. Note: Each learner receives at least two copies of Handout Two: Learning Log. Explain to the class what types of responses they are to record in each column each day. Allow at least five minutes at the end of each class session to complete. Copies of this handout should be used throughout the unit. Check that the students are completing the log each day.


    Anticipatory Set: Read the book Amber on the Mountain, by Tony Johnston. Teacher Note: It is suggested that the following questions be placed on a sheet of paper for learners to answer. Allow ten minutes for learners to write their answers and ten minutes to share answers.

  2. Why did Annie decide to teach Amber to read?

  3. What did she use to help Amber learn?

  4. How do you think Amber felt when she realized that she could read?

  5. Why do you think Amber had to trust Annie before Annie helped Amber to read?

  6. Describe how Annie was not selfish but acted in a selfless way.

  7. Develop the following definitions relating to philanthropy in the book:

  8. Altruism

    (n) Selfless concern for the welfare of others – altruist (n), altruistic (adj.), altruistically (adv.)

    peer tutoring

    (n) One student helping another student learn


    (n) 1. The giving of one’s time, talent or treasure for the sake of another- or for the common good – Robert Payton, 2. Voluntary action for the public good -Robert Payton, 3. Voluntary giving, voluntary service, and voluntary association, primarily for the benefit of others – Robert Payton, 4. Giving and serving –Richard J. Bentley and Luana G. Nissan, 5. Active effort to promote human welfare, 6. A tradition, a spirit, and a sector of society – Maurice G. Gurin and Jon Van Til

  9. Ask learners “Who was the recipient of the service and who was the service giver?”Have learners describe how Annie or Amber acted in an altruistic way.

  10. Ask students to identify the time, talent or treasure that was shared in the story. Describe the peer tutoring and ask whether they have any talents to share as peer tutors.

  11. Ask learners to identify persons who may come into the school as volunteers. Describe what those volunteers do to help learners enrich their learning experiences. Define volunteerism, and talk about why people choose to volunteer.

  12. Distribute Handout One: Reading Recollections. Explain to the class that they will complete this at home over the next two days by asking the questions of their parents/guardians.

  13. Day Two and Day Three: 

  14. Ask learners to come up with one word to describe what it was to learn how to read. Place those responses on the board.

  15. Ask them what things they could do to help other kids become eager readers.

  16. Tell the class that there are agencies, foundations and organizations that help to increase literacy in the community through mentoring and volunteering. Develop the definitions of the following terms:

    • Literacy
    • Foundations and community foundations
    • Volunteer
    • Mentor
    • Altruism
    • Philanthropist
    • Role Model
  17. Guide learners in ways to determine the literacy needs in the community. Connect to With an advanced search, type in literacy and select a state.

  18. Teacher posts the reading outcomes for grades K-3. Explain and discuss with the students why the state or school district sets outcomes for students in each subject area. Ask students to consider what may happen if students don’t meet the outcomes. What help may be available for those students?

  19. Learners should determine what is available in their school and community to assist in making good and eager readers. Consult the school and community media centers/libraries for more information.

  20. Invite a speaker from a literacy agency or a community volunteer who works with literacy programs to talk to the class about the importance of being an eager reader and helping others to develop good reading habits.

  21. Wrap-Up: Explain to the learners that in the next lessons, their task is to determine how they can best be helpful to their community and/or school community in helping to nurture readers and develop an activity to help younger readers.


Evaluate Learning Logs as an assessment/self-reflection tool. See Handout Two: Learning Log. Teacher observation. Class participation. Instructor-designed testing instrument, vocabulary, comprehension and application.

Cross Curriculum 

None in this lesson. The letter identified as Handout One: Parent Letter Explaining Service Project from Lesson Two: Kids Helping Kids may be sent home at the start of this lesson to inform parents/guardians of the entire unit.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name a local philanthropist who has given to a foundation.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Name a corporation or business that has contributed money for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define the word <em>trust</em> and its role in all communities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.