Community Reading Buddies
Community Reading Buddies pairs teenage mentors with pre-K - 3rd grade learners, building literacy and community in tandem.
Each summer, over a hundred junior high and high school students volunteer to spend time reading one-on-one with preschoolers from Child Development Centers in the East Bay.
The volunteers lead reading activities and games, weaving in academic content from a variety of topics, including science, music, and art. The teenage volunteers act as mentors and “buddies” for their younger charges.
Learn more from our Program Report, written by an outside evaluator.
Community Reading Buddies 2016 Information
Reading Buddies 2016 is now in progress!
We are working in five classrooms at two preschool sites this summer:
Highland CDC – 1322 86th Avenue, Oakland CA, 94621
Emerson CDC – 4801 Lawton Ave, Oakland CA, 94609
Highland CDC has 3 classrooms and Emerson CDC has two (which we visit at the same time). Each classroom will have two sessions per week (designated as “day 1″ and “day 2″).
It’s not too late to sign up to be a Reading Buddies volunteer, or “Mentor.” If you’d like to join the program, you must:
- Be at least an incoming seventh grader in the fall of 2016
- Commit to work a minimum of two sessions at Highland CDC and a minimum of six sessions total
- Attend a mandatory volunteer training on Sunday, July 10
- Be able to work responsibly with children, staff and peers
- Submit a signed Parental Permission Form
- Call or email our office to get set up
Please just call the Reading Buddies line at 510- 550-5591. (Note, this is different than Aspire’s main line). Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Already signed up?
Volunteers will not receive individual confirmation of their registration. Your name should appear on the Master Schedule approximately 1 – 2 weeks after your application is received. If you don’t have the link to the Master Schedule, just email us (email@example.com) and request it.Click here to send us an email.If you have any questions or wish to inform us about changes to your schedule, please contact us by email or call us at (510) 550-5591.
About Community Reading Buddies
In Alameda County, nearly 70% of low-income youth are not proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade.(1) We at Aspire Education Project are committed to combatting this epidemic by building a love of reading in preschoolers through the Community Reading Buddies program.Community Reading Buddies was started in 1994 by Nancy McKee-Jolda, an AEP board member. In 2006 she handed operation of the program over to AEP, and CRB has been growing ever since. CRB exemplifies Aspire’s integrated approach to community learning.
Each summer, over a hundred junior high and high school students volunteer to spend time reading one-on-one with preschoolers from Child Development Centers in the East Bay.The volunteers lead reading activities and games, weaving in academic content from a variety of topics, including science, music, and art. The teenage volunteers act as mentors and “buddies” for their younger charges. At the same time, the volunteers learn from the children they are teaching: it is an opportunity for the junior high and high school mentors to interact with neighbors from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. The mentors are provided with training in pedagogy and exposed to the challenges and rewards of teaching. Some mentors may also choose to take on leadership roles, helping to structure activities and guide fellow mentors.
Community Reading Buddies is about transferring knowledge in multiple directions—the “students” improve their language skills, the “teachers” learn to teach, and everyone learns more about the greater East Bay community. The success of this program can be seen in its longevity, the high return rate of former participants, and the broad support it receives from parents and teachers. We plan to eventually expand the program to run year-round.
(1)Data Source: California Department of Education, Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results, http://star.cde.ca.gov/ (Accessed March 2013).
Donors and Partners
Rogers Family Foundation
The Rogers Family Foundation is committed to improving educational opportunity and supporting organizations that align themselves in improving the quality of education amongst Oakland students. One of the three key initiatives set by the foundation in order to close the achievement gap is investing in early literacy for children of low-income families.
Western Digital Foundation
Western Digital Foundation aims to respond to the needs of the communities in which the company operates in, as well as promote the philanthropic vision of the Western Digital Corporation. The current focus area for the Western Digital Foundation include education, basic needs, and civic engagement within the community.
West Davis & Bergard Foundation
A new foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area supporting Community Reading Buddies with purchases of books and funding curricula.
Tandem Partners in Early Learning
Tandem Partners in Early Learning is rooted in the belief that high-quality early learning and strong family bonds can break the cycle of poverty and build brighter futures for children. We are grateful to partner with Tandem for volunteer training and the program’s Family Reading Celebrations, such as the one pictured below.