Reading with a buddy at Heights Libraries
In July, Heights Libraries promoted literacy and leadership with a new program, Reading Buddies. The program was offered at the Lee Road branch of Heights Libraries and paired students in grades 1–3 with teens aged 13–17. The program was designed to help grade school students reach their appropriate reading level and prevent summer learning loss, while giving teens the opportunity to play a leadership role.
The program is based on a similar one conducted through Heights Libraries about 10 years ago, and returned with the help of a teen volunteer from that program, who is now a librarian at Heights Libraries.
"Jessica Robinson [youth services librarian], offered to run this program after participating in a similar one when she was a teen," said Susan Black, youth services manager. “The governor wants third graders to read at level before they leave third grade. The best way to learn is to practice. With this program, children are paired with a teen they can read to, receive encouragement from, and play words games with.”
The hour-long program had children reading out loud to their teenage counterparts, which led to more than just better reading skills. Patrick Tan and his children, Sean and Patricia, regularly attended the program. “My children are more focused and able to listen,” said Tan. “They are very shy, especially Patricia, and I notice they talk to adults more.” When asked how he felt about the program, Sean happily chimed in, “I like stories like Blue Clues.”
"The teens received an orientation to help them determine a child’s reading level. From there, the teens chose books and other word-based activities specifically for the child they were working with,” explained Black. The teens were guided in how to recognize material that would challenge, but not frustrate, the children they were mentoring.
Reading Buddies is over for this summer, but Heights Libraries continues to offer an array of programming to improve literacy for both children and adults. For more information visit www.heightslibrary.org, or call 216-932-3600.
Anna Register is the marketing assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.