At a time when the town budget is being examined and special education funding could be in jeopardy at the state level, Darien Special Education Parent Advisory Committee has piloted a reading buddy program with help from the Darien Library.

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. The Darien Library provides the space and a pre-selected assortment of leveled books.

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-chairmen, 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 13 and up) and younger buddies (first grade 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. For program information or to sign-up, contact Lynne Andren (lynneandren@yahoo.com) or Kara Callahan (kwcallahan@icloud.com).

The Darien Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is an independent organization of parent volunteers committed to open communication and effective collaboration between the families of our community and the Darien Public Schools.