Literary Programs

BookTalk-Kids-PS-199Book Talk

Book Talk volunteers lead book discussion groups for advanced readers in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. Participating students read selections from classic children’s literature and works of contemporary fiction. Groups of 6-12 students selected by their teacher meet weekly with two volunteers to discuss the assigned reading. The program encourages children to read independently, think critically and express themselves clearly. To learn more about Book Talk, contact Marion Pomeranc, Program Manager for Literary Programs.


Book Talk groups typically consist of 6-12 students and two volunteers. We use teams of two in order to more easily manage the kids– they can get pretty excited about books! – and to ensure that there is coverage every week. The students are selected by their teachers to participate in the program on the basis of their ability and willingness to do extra reading at home, to come prepared every week, and to participate in the group discussion.

Esperana-Rising-Cover The_Tale_of_Despereaux donavans-word-jar-cover-imageIn the first part of the year, most Book Talk groups read short stories drawn from either the Junior Great Books anthologies (which are leveled by grade) or the America Street collection of multi-cultural stories.

In the second part of the year, most groups switch to paperback novels that include both traditional children’s classics and contemporary fiction. Many of these novels have won the Newbery Medal or other literature prizes.

The training for Book Talk consists of a single 2.5-hour session, at which volunteers are introduced to the objectives of Book Talk, learn how to prepare for and conduct a book discussion group, participate in a mock Book Talk discussion, and practice preparing interpretive questions based on a short story. Where possible, new volunteers are paired with experienced volunteers, who provide guidance and support.

To learn more about Book Talk, contact 212-213-3370 ext. 369 or send an email to

Click here to complete your application to become a Book Talk volunteer now!

Book Buddies


The Young Friends of Learning Leaders celebrate with their student Buddies from PS 241 Brooklyn.

The Learning Leaders Book Buddies program promotes an appreciation of both reading and interpersonal communication in young children through encouraging them to read and write on their own. The newest of Learning Leader’s corporate volunteer programs, Book Buddies matches participating volunteers with elementary or middle school students on a one-to-one basis.

Volunteers, trained by the Program Manager for Literary Programs, engage the children in a written discussion related to the story – and volunteers never have to leave the office to participate! Employees of a sponsoring corporation and their “book buddy” are each given a chapter book to read. Through a series of letters, the volunteer and student discuss the book, and the student builds vocabulary, writing and grammar skills. At the culmination of the program in late spring, both volunteers and students finally have the opportunity to meet in person. Student “book buddies” take a class trip to see the volunteers’ office. Students and volunteers share lunch together, and students learn about the sponsoring corporation. At the close of the meet-and-greet, students are given a special book to take home with them.

To learn more about this or Learning Leaders’ other Corporate Volunteer programs, please contact Marion Pomeranc, Program Manager for Literary Programs.