As a reading buddy, Milly loves seeing younger students thrive

Milly s2s buddy

“I've been a reading buddy in The Smith Family's student2student program three times – in Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10. I keep coming back because I find it really rewarding and I enjoy seeing the progress that the students make over the time period,” said Milly, age 16.

When a child is behind in their reading, it affects every subject at school. Often when they try to read with a parent, frustration or embarrassment gets in the way. But reading anonymously over the phone to a buddy who is closer to their own age can make all the difference. And Milly is amazed by the outcomes.

Each student she’s worked with has interacted with the program differently. 

“My first student loved student2student so much. But last year I had a different student, and at the beginning he wanted to drop out and his mum had to persuade him to keep going” said Milly.

“He could read all the words sufficiently, but he wasn't annunciating them properly or pausing at the end of his sentences. He was just saying the words or sentences without pauses or really understanding the meaning.

“By the end of the program I was able to teach him what commas and full stops were and how to raise his tone and voice. The program coordinators said at the end of the school year that he had progressed his reading level by two years.

I've learnt patience from being a student2student buddy.

“Building confidence was a big thing for this student. He was so shy. He wouldn't start a conversation and he would answer with one-word answers, possibly because he didn't understand what people were saying. We made it to a positive result at the end.

“The program has really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am and what other students are going through. That is a big thing. Being a reading buddy has also helped me develop good teaching skills and listening skills.

“I've found that this program is so valuable for the younger students because reading is such an important skill to have – it's in everything.

“The program is also important, not just for their education levels, but for their confidence, so they can feel they can ask the teacher a question if they don't understand what's going on.

Student2student is a really great program. I would really recommend it.”