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Book Buddies Program

Book Buddies is a reading program that pairs students and volunteers in virtual reading sessions. The program is designed to improve the student’s reading skills, have every student in the program read at their grade level or above, and to increase a young readers’ love for reading.

The Book Buddies program, is a collaboration between Integrity Children’s Fund (ICF), Dekalb County School District’s Office of Parent and Family Engagement, South DeKalb Improvement Association Education, Inc.  (SDIAE) and Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center (SPARC).

 

Why a reading program:

Reading is the foundational skill for all other subjects.

Research shows:

  • Up to third grade, children are learning to read. Starting in fourth grade, they are reading to learn. If children don't have good reading skills by this time, it directly impacts their ability to learn properly and succeed in school.

  • Children that are not reading at grade level by the third grade are also at higher risk for other detrimental outcomes.

  • Children who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. The problem is compounded by poverty.

 

How the program works:

  • Students access reading materials on EPIC, a digital reading platform. The EPIC digital reading platform is built on a collection of 40,000+ popular, high-quality books that safely fuel curiosity and reading confidence for kids 12 and under.

  • Each week the student reads to the volunteer over a ZOOM session. The reading buddy establishes relationships with their students and assist in improving their reading skills. During the session they listen to their students read aloud; assist their students when they don’t know words or falter with words, and they ask their students reading comprehension questions.

 

ICF recruits volunteers to be partnered with students as reading buddies and to be positive role model in the student’s life.

 

  • Each reading session is conducted over ZOOM and is 30 minutes in duration

  • Volunteers are asked to commit to 1 hour (2 x 30 minutes sessions) of mentoring weekly

  • Reading sessions are 4:00pm – 7:00pm Mondays thru Thursdays

  • An evaluation of the student’s performance is completed at the end of each session

 

All volunteers are required to pass a basic background check. The background check is required by the Dekalb County School District in order to interact with the students. 

The reading program is a natural for ICF, a non-profit organization headquartered in Georgia who has been committed to addressing the issue of illiteracy for nearly 20 years. Initially focused on the needs of children in Jamaica, the organization has raised more than $1M to support their efforts. Integrity children’s Fund has recently expanded its reach to address the challenges of literacy among immigrant children who have settled in the metro Atlanta area.

 

The Book Buddies program was piloted during the summer of 2021. Based on the success of the pilot and a list of more than 100 students who have signed up, the program will be fully launched for the 2021 -2022 school year.

 

How to Volunteer:

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For additional information:

 

Marcia Chambers

Director - Volunteer Relations

Program Director -  Book Buddies Program

Integrity Children’s Fund

A 501 (c ) 3 Organization

marciachambers@integritychildrensfund.org