READING BUDDIES: CSV's two-decades-old Reading Buddies program matches more than 150 young readers in the Cambridge Public Schools with adults for 6–8 months of reading aloud together. What can drive a child to gain reading skills more enduringly than establishing a love of books?
Cambridge School Volunteers, Inc., puts people “in the trenches” with kids and books, working on that very strategy to help kids with this basic building block of education. Our 150 Reading Buddies volunteers forge a love of reading through sharing and enjoying the read-aloud experience. Several sessions are earmarked for kids to read to their partners—an exciting time for kids to show their progress in reading.
Weekly or biweekly visits throughout the school year mean a child and his or her adult reading buddy are able to develop a strong and enjoyable reading relationship over a period of time. Some buddies are able to carry their pairing over into a second year, further reinforcing their bond. Cambridge School Volunteers has long worked with Volpe Transportation Systems Center, Sanofi Genzyme, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education to help a whole generation of kids learn to read.
We are very proud of our oldest-running CSV Reading Buddies Program, at Kennedy-Longfellow School, which has welcomed volunteer buddies from Volpe Transportation Systems since 1997, thus having a hand in helping even some Millennials learn to read! A number Volpe buddies are “lifers,” having participated for ten or more years. Fletcher Maynard Academy is another longstanding Reading Buddies site, with first- and second-graders partnering with Sanofi Genzyme buddies and a crew of buddies from the community. CSV also runs a Reading Buddies program at the Amigos School in English and Spanish.
We know that the quality and content of books matters greatly in the strides these students can make toward reading fluency. At Kennedy-Longfellow School in particular, the collection has never been updated. We need to introduce new authors, new illustrators, and “modern” books to the reading pairs. We are taking about 100 books out of circulation for months at a time from that school’s library to compensate. The Reading Buddies program needs its own, new collection of multicultural books (to reflect the student body), high-interest books (to fully engage the interests of kids), chapter books (for transitional readers on the verge of reading independently), and picture books that are highly engaging.
By supporting Books for Buddies, you'll help CSV's Reading Buddies program to instill a love of reading through personal, one-to-one, ongoing reading relationships, at a critical juncture for developing readers.