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FAQs - Reading Buddies

Frequently Asked Questions from NEW Reading Buddies

Will I be with one child the entire year?

In most cases, yes! We advise schools that the program works best when you, the Reading Buddy, will stay with the same student(s) all year. Some schools prefer to switch out students if they improve their reading skills to meet grade-level.

Will I meet with one student for the whole hour?

You will meet with multiple students throughout your hour. The length of each individual session depends on the grade. For example, if you are working with 2nd grade students, you might spend 15 minutes with each student, seeing 4 students total by the end of your hour. The older the student, the longer each session will be.

I have some travel plans at different times during the school year. Will this disrupt the student reading sessions?

This depends on how long you will be away. If your vacation is for two to three weeks, that is perfectly fine. Make sure you inform the school and your student(s) when you will be gone and when you

will return. If you plan to be gone for several months during the school year (i.e. snow birds), then the Reading Buddy Program would not be a good fit for you this year.

Afternoons are better for me. Are there reading sessions in the afternoons?

Most likely, yes! Once you are placed with a school you will work with them to make a schedule that works for everybody.

I have something on my record from 20 years ago. Will this impact my ability to be a Reading Buddy when they run a background check?

As long as you disclose this information when filling out your application, and it is not something that will affect your ability to work with children, then it will be fine.

Frequently Asked Questions – General - Reading Buddies

My student is having a real problem staying engaged in our reading session. What should I do?

There are many different strategies for engaging your students during their session. Use some of the tips & tricks in your orientation booklet, including talk-time, taking a break or taking turns reading. 

The book my student is reading seems too hard/easy for them. How do I know if a book is just right?

If you can, contact their teacher to find out what reading level they are. Or you can test different books using the “5 Finger Test.” While you are reading, hold up your hand with all 5 fingers raised. Every time they struggle with a word, put a finger down. If they run out of a

fingers on just one page, that book is too hard for them.

My students seems to be reading just fine. Why are they in the program?

There are different reasons students are chosen to be in the Reading Buddy Program. Most of the time, students are selected because they are struggling to read. Occasionally, students are chosen because they would benefit from a positive adult role model, or because they need the one-on- one time to focus. Additionally, a student might be chosen because they are excelling in class and would benefit from the freedom to read more challenging books. During your initial orientation at your school site feel free to ask why your students were chosen for the program if you are not already told this information.

My reading session is only 10-15 minutes and seems too short. Are students really gaining something from this experience?

Yes! Even though it might not seem like a very long time, students really do benefit from the repeated one-on- one literacy time that a Reading Buddy provides.

Some of my reading time is cut short when I have to retrieve a student from their classroom. Why can’t we have more time with our students?

Utilize the time you have walking your student from their classroom to chat before your session. This way, you can get started right away when you are at your reading location. Being flexible with time and utilizing it creatively helps our schools a lot. The Reading Buddy Program was started because of how stretched-thin schools are these days. They cannot do it alone!

I have some extra time and I would like to add another day at my school. How do I go about this?

Your main contact at your school can assist you with this. Always reach out to the United Way Reading Buddy Program Manager if you are having trouble communicating with your school.

I would like to know about my student’s progress and I don’t have much contact with his/her teacher. Any suggestions?

Reach out to whoever is your main contact at the school. If they do not have the information or aren’t able to connect with the teacher, feel free to reach out to United Way and we can assist you with this.

How do I go about arranging a meeting time with their teacher?

Email is the best way to get ahold of teachers. Send an email asking for few a minutes to chat.