Book Buddies assist young readers


Grace Nelson

Volunteer Jean Ashton listens to second grader Timothy Bracey read. Mrs. Ashton participates in the Book Buddy program, which provides reading partners for students.

Grace Nelson, Reporter

The Book Buddies program is in its third year at the elementary.

Community members read to and listen to a kid once a week for 30 minutes in the school library. Jessica Deerinwater and Vicky Davis are in charge of the program.

“The volunteers like it and I know the kids love it because they can’t get down there fast enough,” Mrs. Deerinwater said.

The program has been sponsored in papers and at churches. Mrs. Deerinwater also helps the Salvation Army with the angel tree.

“The school is good with the physical needs of the students but I feel like some kids need someone to listen to them read,” Mrs. Deerinwater said. “The program helps provide a consistency of someone being there.”

There are a total of 38 volunteers in the program; Cynthia Hayhurst is a volunteer who reads  during the week.

“I’m glad they started the program; it boosts confidence and reading,” Mrs. Hayhurst said. “Good experiences will help reading and being around adults helps with social skills.”

The program reaches out  community. People with all sorts of different backgrounds give a variety of skills to the children. Jean Ashton was a teacher before she retired and became a buddy.

“Since I’m retired, this gives me an opportunity to work with students again,” Mrs. Ashton said. “It’s a beneficial program for the kids. The more they read, the better they read.”

The volunteers like it and I know the kids love it because they can’t get down there fast enough.

— Mrs. Deerinwater

Timothy Bracey and Jose Burgara, second grade,  are students in the program, whom say the program is beneficial.

“I’m used to reading by myself and it helps to read with someone else,” Burgara  said. “I like reading and teaching Spanish.”

Noah Reneau is in second grade and has been in the program for three years.

“The ‘buddy’ helps me read and pronounce words,” Reneau said. “I have gotten better at reading since I started the program.”

Vicky Lopez joined the program in October and said she has loved every minute of it.

“Esteban Zea Monroe is my ‘buddy’ and I let him pick what book he wants to read, if he wants to read or if he wants me to read,”  Mrs. Lopez said. “There are so many kids learning English; that’s why Mrs. Deerinwater picked me.