Tutoring elementary school students is beyond rewarding. And with class sizes peaking at thirty students, your presence has never been more essential. You can see the difference a little encouragement makes from day one. On my second day in a new classroom - helping a child with a writing assignment - a half dozen other students asked me to read their work before I left for my day job.
I put together a Mary Poppins style tutoring kit with magic-math-beans (to use as "math manipulables" ), an endless Muji eraser and French mechanical pencil, a sharpener, erasers to add to the chewed end of students’ pencils, colored markers, puffy Japanese stickers for a job well done, and a notebook for recording each day’s progress.
Of course it's your presence that makes a difference. As I write down words in my notebook to show a student struggling the difference between “while” and “wild”, I explained, “Soon all these words will be yours and we’ll use them to write a story of your own!” It's a project they look forward to and are so proud of.
Most volunteer opportunities begin by applying and providing references. Some require completing a training session to provide you with creative ideas for engaging students while teaching them the basics. As a volunteer you'll make the most impact by make a commitment for a certain amount of time each week over the course of the school year.
Check out Idealist for opportunities.