Reading Buddies

Reading Buddies

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Description: 
Reading Buddies is a system wide program that matches children in grades 1-3 (little buddies) high school student volunteers (big buddies), who share their love of reading with fun picture books and literacy games. The buddies meet for an hour/wee for eight weeks. The program runs at several branches in Regina and is loosely supervised by staff (the buddies do not meet in a program room). The program was advertised in RPL's Program Guide, on RPL's website, on Social Media, and in schools. This program launched in the Fall of 2016 is is an ongoing program. Each branch where the program is held has a box full of literacy kits. These kits include information sheets for the big buddies that include tips on helping their little buddies find the perfect book, a list of all the types of books in the childrens' area (board books, picture books, beginning readers, etc.), and literacy games. The teen volunteers spend a total of 10 weeks in the program. All volunteers are required to attend a training session the week before Reading Buddies starts and there is an optional wrap party after the program is finished. This program took 4 months plan.
Number of sessions: 
8
Frequency: 
Weekly
Length of program session: 
30-60 minutes
Presenter(s): 
Volunteers
Audience
Primary Audience: 
Primary (Gr. K-3 or aged 5-8)
Middle School/Junior Secondary (Gr. 8-10 or aged 13-16)
Senior Secondary (Gr. 11-12 or aged 17-18)
Resources
Resources required (materials/supplies; food/refreshments, etc.): 
Literacy Games: - Rory's Story Cubes (bought) - Zingo Word Builder (bought) - Spot it! (bought) - Sight Word Guess Who (made) - Sight Word Memory (made) - Sight Word Bingo/Blackout (made) - Rhyming Dominoes (made) - BANG! Sight Word Game (made) Refreshments for volunteer training and volunteer wrap-up: - Donuts - Coffee - Pizza - Pop
Budget for this program: 
$1650
Evaluation
What were the goals/objectives of your program?: 
- To increase literacy among school aged children and to help an age group that is not old enough to attend our homework help program (for grades 4-12). - To increase the number of teens using the library
Feedback from Participants: 
- Our teen volunteers really love the program. Many of the volunteers that started in the fall, have come back for other sessions. Two of our teen volunteers enjoyed volunteering at the library so much that they joined the Teen Advisory Group - Parents have told me how much they appreciate the program - one mom said that her son's teacher has noticed an improvement in his reading since he started Reading Buddies.
Highlights - what worked well?: 
- Recruiting volunteers from the catholic schools. Students in the catholic system need volunteer hours in order to graduate. I contact the Christian Ethics teachers at all the schools and got RPL added to the approved list of volunteer organizations. I also sent posters to the catholic schools. - the kids really loved the literacy games
What would you change about this program?: 
- We need to change the way we advertise this program to parents. We have no problem getting teen volunteers but it is always a struggle to get parents to register their kids for the program (but the parents who do register LOVE the program).
Program photos: