Reading buddies receive training and ongoing support throughout the program. The Smith Family provides both students with books suited to the younger students’ reading age and buddies provide encouragement and advice as they read the same book.
“We have one technique called ‘Pause, Prompt and Praise’, which gives the buddies something to follow as the younger children read to them,” says Sally. Research has shown this method to be an effective tutoring strategy for improving children’s reading.
The program also benefits the reading buddies. Buddies can often attribute the program towards their compulsory community hours, required by some schools. Sally says the experience opens their eyes and promotes greater social awareness.
“[The buddies] come from a different background. It is very rewarding for the buddies … The way that they think about disadvantaged people is often changed also,” says Sally.