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.

Community Reading Buddies Photo Gallery

Community Reading Buddies had its biggest and most successful year ever in 2015!

Learn more from our Program Report, written by an outside evaluator.

Community Reading Buddies 2015 Report

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Community Reading Buddies 2016 Information

Reading Buddies 2016 is now enrolling volunteers.

We will work 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″). 

CRB 2016 schedule

Trainings will be held on the following dates (volunteers need attend only ONE training):

  • Sunday, May 22, 1:00 – 3:30 pm — Main Library (125 14th Street, Oakland)
  • Saturday, June 11, 10:00 am – 12:45 pm — 81st Avenue Branch Library (1021 81st Avenue, Oakland)

To be a Reading Buddies volunteer, or “Mentor,” you must:

  • Be at least an incoming seventh grader in the fall of 2016
  • Commit to work a minimum of two sessions per week for at least three weeks
  • Attend a mandatory volunteer training on May 22 or June 11
  • Be able to work responsibly with children, staff and peers
  • Submit the online Sign-Up for CRB 2016
  • Submit a signed Parental Permission Form
Click here to sign up for Reading Buddies 2016Click here to download a parental permission slip

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.

Click here to view the Master Schedule

If you have any questions or wish to inform us about changes to your schedule, please contact us at crb@aspireeducation.org or (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.crb_highland_jul-30-14_07

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).

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