“There’s nothing like showing up at Reading Buddies after a long day and being greeted with enthusiastic hugs and smiles from kids who you’ve only recently met. It’s so fun to see the kids read to each other and to strategize with older kids about how to make reading even more fun.”
On Wednesday, February 6th, VCO kicked off Reading Program 6.0: Reading Buddies! The program is designed to encourage kindergarteners and first graders to read more, empower older children to be student leaders by volunteering through VCO, and foster diverse mentoring relationships. Students in kindergarten and 1st grade are paired with a student leader in grades 4th-5th or an adult volunteer to read and work on literacy activities. When the kindergarteners and 1st graders go home, student leaders and adult volunteers meet in mentor pairs to reflect on their volunteer experience.
The unique component of this year’s reading program is the focus on student leaders. We hope that this new model will empower kids to be leaders in their neighborhood. Ultimately, we would like to see them take ownership of programming, but to achieve this, students will need the support, guidance, and encouragement given by adult volunteers. We also hope that by spending time together in reflection, student leaders and volunteers will form meaningful relationships. We’re excited to see where our Reading Buddies program takes us!