The Johnson School has many kindergarteners
at-risk for reading failure. So the school district has started an innovative community
volunteer program called book buddies. Where are you going? Six-year-old Tray is one of twenty kids who’ve
been assigned a reading tutor, a book buddy, who will work with him twice a week during
his first grade year. One of my rewards is going to the playground
to pick him up twice a week and seeing him run towards me with a big grin on my face.
It makes my heart sing. There’s my book buddy Trey. How are you? Trey’s book buddy is Gail Rubin, now in her
sixth year of volunteering. Want to play a rhyming game on the way? New volunteers get a three hour course in
the program and also watch and expert model the tutoring. Like Melville Krebs, the book
buddy’s coordinator at the Johnson School. She tailors two-45 minute lessons a week for
each of the kids in the program. Trey began the year as a total non-reader.
And he’s learned just about everything that has been taught him along the way. Hi, Trey. Let’s get started with the familiar
books. Which one would you like to read first? A book buddy session begins with the child
reading a familiar text. Rereading is a great way to build fluency and comprehension. Stan packed his trumpet, drum and a� That’s a tough word. �bandage. Good for you. For his thumb. After a systematic phonics lesson, Trey practices
reading words with the sounds he has learned. Chop, quilt. There’s no L in there. So it’s? Quit. Quit. That’s wonderful. All right. I don’t
supposed you’d like to play a game. Mmm. All right. I think we can find one in here. What looks like a game to Trey is a continuation
of the phonics lesson. Trey must identify the pictured objects and then spell their
names. What’s that? Truck. Okay. Truck. Time to choose a book to take
home to read to your mom. Which one is it going to be?
What’s the name of it? Quick as a Cricket. Book buddies has put together everything researchers
know will help struggling readers. Parental support, systematic phonics, good children’s
literature and lots of individual attention. I’m as slow as a snail. I’m as slow as a basset.
I’m�p; I’m as�tame. First graders are selected for book buddies
because they are far behind their peers. But thanks to community help, by the end of the
year, a remarkable 85 percent of them will be reading at grade level. Put them all together and you’ve got me.