Reading buddy program supports literacy and friendship

Reading buddy program supports literacy and friendship
Posted on 11/14/2023
Point reading buddiesCynthia Biggs, the reading specialist at Point Elementary School, started the reading buddies program 15 years ago to provide students with extra support in reading. The program has continued to grow, proving beneficial for younger and older students, as well as their teachers.

During the first 10-15 minutes of each school day, fourth- and fifth-grade students meet one-on-one with their buddies who are in kindergarten, first or second grade. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students read a book together. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students do activities that are related to literacy instruction provided in class. On Fridays, the students play a game to review what they’ve learned that week. 
Point reading buddies
Image: Point Elementary School reading buddies review words with the -ug endings like jug, rug and bug.

Students work on reading strategies and skills like letter identification, sounds, word families and snap words, Biggs explained. Snap words are words like “and,” “the,” “go,” and “you,” that students often see when reading and need to know in a “snap.” Teachers and students build a bank of these words throughout the year to build reading fluency.

“I get to read a lot to know words better,” said Sabastian Music, a second-grader. “She helps me to sound out words, and when I see them again, I know how to say it.”

Biggs works closely with kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers to determine the areas where students could use additional support. She meets with older buddies monthly to review strategies to teach those skills and share new educational games they can play.
Point reading buddies
Image: Point Elementary School reading buddies read a story together.

The experience is also beneficial for older students. The mentorship helps them to grow more confident in their own reading abilities.

“If you can teach somebody a skill, you know you’ve mastered it,” said Alisha Oetting, a fifth-grade teacher. “When these fourth or fifth-graders are able to teach kids context clues or how to retell a story, you know as a teacher that they can do those skills proficiently themselves.” 

The reading buddies program has built a culture of friendship throughout Point Elementary, as well as a love of reading.

“It helps the younger students see that other kids are excited about reading, too,” said April Kedro, a kindergarten teacher. “It reinforces the skills we’re working on and gives them some extra practice.” 

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].