Children in our Day Early Learning centers are building the essential skills they need for success, and volunteers can support this crucial work. Guest readers in our classrooms help our students build early literacy and language skills. They also help foster curiosity and memory and reinforce lessons on effective expression. We want all of our students to enter school with a love for books and reading. Help us by signing up to read to our students.

If you or someone you know is interested in improving your reading skills, learning English, or obtaining a high school diploma, reach out to our partner, Indy Reads, for more information.

Reading Buddies Book List

Our recommended book list has been created in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library. All the books on our list are available at the public library or for sale on the Indy Reads virtual bookstore. These books were selected by children’s librarians based on their level of developmental appropriateness, and the diversity of their authors and main characters. The list will be updated periodically throughout the year.

Give the gift of literacy by donating books to our Day Early Learning classrooms.

All donations made on this page will be used to purchase books from our reading list. For specific requests, please contact Kirsten Yeager at


4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Reading Buddy

Step 1

Choose a book from our recommended list above.

Step 2

Secure a digital or physical copy of your chosen book. If you are a member of the Indianapolis Public Library and would like to access a digital copy, you can do so here. Watch this video for more information on accessing digital copies. Don’t have a library card? Get one here.

Step 3

After signing up to read, and before your scheduled time, you will receive an email with a Zoom meeting link and other information. Please read this email thoroughly.

Step 4

Check out the guest reader tips below.

These tips are brought to you by:

Erin Kissling

Early Learning Indiana
Chief Learning Officer

As Chief Learning Officer and drawing from more than a decade of experience, Erin is responsible for designing and implementing Early Learning Indiana’s education model and related professional development. Before joining ELI, Erin served at the Indiana Department of Education overseeing the State’s early childhood and literacy initiatives. Erin earned a master’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in early childhood education from Ball State University and holds a certificate in early childhood leadership and program administration.

Shael Weidenbach

Indianapolis Public Library
Herbert Simon Early Literacy Specialist

As the Herbert Simon Early Literacy Specialist for the Indianapolis Public Library, Shael develops programs and other initiatives for young children, their caregivers and child care providers. She has been working in early childhood education for more than 20 years and earned her master’s degree in urban education from Georgia State University. Her experiences as a teacher, preschool director, arts education administrator, curriculum writer and workshop leader give her a broad perspective on how to inspire our youngest learners.

Tips For Reading to Children

By stopping occasionally during reading, you can help children process the story, increasing their comprehension.


  • “How do you think __________ is feeling? Have you ever felt that way?”
  • “Look at his facial expression. How do you think he is feeling? Why?” or “I see that boy looking down at the ground. His shoulders are slumped. That tells me he is sad.”


  • “Look at this __________.  I think it means _____________.”
  • “Did you notice _____________?”


  • “These words are bigger because the girl is yelling.”
  • “These words are in a bubble because that is what she is thinking/saying. See how it points to her brain/mouth?”

Encourage Predicting

  • “What do you think might happen next?”  
  • “Uh oh, remember when that happened last time? What will the boy do this time?”

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