Local Reading Buddy volunteers are making a real difference for Benalla students, and more volunteers are needed in 2016.
Operating in Benalla Primary Schools since 2012, the Reading Buddy Program matches children in junior classes in Benalla schools with a volunteer ‘buddy’ who works with them during the school’s literacy classes each week. Children love having their own special ‘buddy’ who helps them to improve their reading and writing skills. Teachers value the program because it helps to engage children with learning and to experience success in the classroom. And the volunteers enjoy sharing their love of reading and seeing the often dramatic progress children make when they receive that extra bit of help. The Reading Buddies often comment that they get as much out of the program as the students. It’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone.
‘Reading Buddies’ is a partnership between Benalla schools and Tomorrow Today Foundation. Tomorrow Today assists the schools by recruiting volunteers and helping with the induction process. All volunteers receive training and ongoing support to make sure they are comfortable and confident in their role. Buddies commit to at least one two-hour literacy session per week with their student. However many Reading Buddies volunteer more often as they can see how much the children benefit from having a buddy.
The program has been so successful that it will be expanded to help more children in 2016. Anyone interested in volunteering as a Reading Buddy is asked to contact Cathy Hair, Student Wellbeing Coordinator for Tomorrow Today on 5762 1211, or call into Tomorrow Today’s office at Shop 10, Cecily Court, Benalla.