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Buddy program attracts volunteer readers
By Allison Espiritu
After a visit to Fall City Elementary a year ago, Laura Kosinski was surprised when a number of students and adults flooded the school’s library with books in hand, ready to read. It left her wondering what the hullaballo was all about.
It turns out that the book excitement was due to the school’s Reading Buddy program.
In Reading Buddies, started by Literacy for Life instructor Katie Morris, volunteers become reading tutors for students who need extra help.
“I remember coming home and wanting to do the same thing,” said Kosinski. She shared the program with fellow PTSA members, bringing it to Snoqualmie Elementary School.
Snoqualmie Elementary has embraced the program and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Their program has grown from an initial year with 10 students and eight volunteers to a current involvement of 19 students and 14 buddies.
Students who are at the brink of reading at their grade level are paired up with a buddy.
“This is really a gift,” said Sherry Christen, Title I teacher at Snoqualmie Elementary. “It’s not just a school instructor, it is somebody special coming in and spending time with you.”
Scheduling a time each week with first through fifth grade teachers, students decorate Reading Boxes, which hold books, poems, flash cards and other reading tools that they use during their time with a buddy.
“We have a special place to go and we either read, write, talk, draw or do flash cards,” said Alicia Webb, Reading Buddy and PTSA member at Snoqualmie Elementary.
Students are tested each October and once again in the spring.
Last year’s results showed more than 85 percent of students in the program met grade level reading by the end of the year.
School staff are excited to see the progress Reading Buddy students have made, and are also enthusiastic about the number of volunteers who have reached out outside of their parent community.
Now, the goal is to make it more successful, drawing more involvement by parents and community members.
• To learn more about the Reading Buddy program, contact Snoqualmie Elementary School at (425) 831-8050.