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Fairview-Clifton Book Buddies Program Builds Literacy Skills

Students at Fairview-Clifton German Language School are buddying up with a good book and a new friend to promote literacy. 

More than 70 sixth-grade students were trained by partner Queen City Book Bank for the Book Buddies peer mentoring and reading program.

Sixth-graders meet monthly with their “Book Buddy” to read books together. While the program boosts reading skills, it also helps develop social-emotional and leadership skills. 

The idea is that sixth-graders get a mentoring and leadership opportunity in reading with the first-graders,” Allison Sears, resource coordinator at Fairview-Clifton German Language School, said. “The first-graders are getting help with literacy and the social, emotional support – the good feels – by bonding with older peers.”

Reading to a book buddieThe 2023-24 school year marks the second year for the Book Buddies program at Fairview-Clifton. Students get excited when talking about the program. 

“I love it,” said Morgan R., sixth-grade student. “I love little kids and I really like the fact that I can help them read. When you’re a kid, you can understand how the one who is trying to learn is feeling.”

Noelle L., first grade student, says she likes reading a book with an “older kid” and that  “there’s always something interesting to explore about the books.”

While Sears says the goal is to foster a love of reading, it’s also sparked a special bond between students. 

“We have sixth-graders asking if their “Book Buddy” is going to be at school to meet. We have first-graders asking teachers how their “buddy” is doing in math or science,” Sears said.

The program provides resources for home as well. Recently, each first-grader received a Book Buddy starter kit that included a copy of the book, “Slumberberry,” and a matching “stuffy” so they can practice reading while away from their buddy.

Sears hopes to keep the program going and even expand it in the future. “The dream is that the first graders will eventually be the mentors.”