MCSD Launches Reading Buddies Program
High schoolers, with support from their English teacher, Mrs. Dickhut, agreed to volunteer their time to read a favorite book from their childhood with a younger student. Reading buddies would “meet” virtually through a shared Google document and connect about what they liked about the book and what questions came up while they were reading. High school students selected books; and with the help of BOCES integration specialist, Mr. Roaldi, and school librarian, Mrs. O’Toole, created video trailers to introduce themselves and their books to fourth grade classes at Wise.
Mrs. Phillips, school librarian at Clifford Wise, introduced the Reading Buddies program and showed the video trailers to selected fourth grade classes. Student responses were overwhelmingly positive! Fourth graders were excited to see the older students on the screen, many of whom they recognize from the athletic field or music productions. Any fourth grader interested in participating in the program was asked to complete a short questionnaire identifying which book they would like to read and why. These submissions were reviewed by a small committee that paired younger students with older students. Nineteen pairs of readers were matched!
To celebrate the start of the first Reading Buddies program, a gathering was held in the Wise cafeteria. Mrs. Dickut created invitations and gift baskets for the older students to give to the younger students. Each reading pair was given a copy of their selected book, purchased by the District at a discounted rate from The Book Shoppe, a proud supporter of the WE READ Campaign. The excitement in the room was infectious. High school students warmly greeted their new reading buddy and over cookies and punch, conversations blossomed.
All of the Reading Buddies participants will continue to read their books and have discussions through shared technology. At the end of December, buddies will reunite to celebrate their success with reading and the new friendships formed.