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.
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.
This year, CRB has been awarded as $10,000 grant from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation for Community Reading Buddies. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a private family foundation that funds cutting edge ideas, because only through innovative thinking can we achieve a world where performing arts organizations can thrive, every child can read, and chronic diseases can be cured. More at krfoundation.org.
(1)Data Source: California Department of Education, Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results, http://star.cde.ca.gov/ (Accessed March 2013).
Community Reading Buddies 2015 Information
The program is in full swing! Please check the Master Schedule here to ensure you are signed up for the right days. We make efforts to ensure that each preschool “buddy” is matched with a Youth Mentor, one-on-one, so be sure to alert us at firstname.lastname@example.org if ourMaster Schedule needs updating.
Feel free to request extra shifts on the days you see they are needed.
We are working in four 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 multiple classrooms. There are 4 classrooms in all, and each one has two sessions per week (designated as “day 1″ and “day 2″) . Scheduling is flexible – see sign up page for details.