Darien’s Special Education Parents Advisory Council is presenting a new reading buddy program. The program was piloted this winter and is now open to student volunteers. Darien Library has partnered with SEPAC by providing the space and a pre-selected assortment of grade-level books.
What is a reading buddy program? It’s older kids (“big reading buddies”) paired with younger kids (“little reading buddies”) for one-to-one reading time. Research has shown that academic performance, motivation to read, reading skills, and self-confidence are all gained through participation in these programs.
Two SEPAC Representatives; Lynne Andren, who has a master’s degree in reading and Kara Callahan, who has a master’s degree in special education, run the program. When approached by SEPAC co-chairs, Courtney Darby and Tricia Bresnahan, both Andren and Callahan were thrilled with the idea of helping parents through the sometimes dreaded daily reading homework requirement while helping the buddies develop new friendships and foster a love of reading. The group meets once a week on Thursday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. The group is currently seeking older buddies (ages 12 and up) and younger buddies (age 6 and above) for a new session: April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18 and May 25
Either buddy can require support; in fact this program is perfect for a teen who is struggling with reading. This is a wonderful community service activity that promises to benefit the older buddies just as much as the younger.