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FAQs - School Partners

What is the United Way (UW) Reading Buddies Program?

United Way recruits community volunteers to become Reading Buddies.  Reading Buddies support schools and teachers reach more students struggling to read at grade level.

How do I implement the program at our school?

  • Invite the UW to present the Reading Buddies program to school staff OR show UW Reading Buddy video.

  • Identify a key contact staff person(s) that will be responsible for communicating with UW and volunteers.

  • Determine which grade(s) makes most sense to place Reading Buddies.

  • Identify teachers who would welcome support.

  • Create a list of reading times for Reading Buddies and send to UW. 

How are students selected for the program?

Schools identify Tier II students who would benefit from the extra reading practice and/or students who would benefit from the emotional support from a caring adult.

Why do I need to submit student data to United Way?

This data is essential to the sustainability of the program, which includes grant writing. We also use this data to show our community, and our school partners, the success of the program.

Will volunteers have passed their background check before they start?

Yes, every volunteer will have completed and passed the district background check before they start volunteering.

Can I use a different format to submit data than what is offered by United Way?

Yes, please use whatever format you prefer to send us the data.

What are some easy ideas to show appreciation to our Reading Buddy volunteers?

  • Invite Reading Buddies to observe during core reading sessions

  • Add their names to your school newsletter

  • Once a month, invite a Reading Buddy to shadow the Principal

  • Have students make Thank you “turkey” cards before Thanksgiving break by tracing their handprint and making a turkey.

  • In December, invite them to your holiday party.

  • January is National Mentor Month – Have school counselors invite Reading Buddies to a discussion about the emotional benefits their relationship brings to your student.

  • In February, show some LOVE to Reading Buddies - Have PTO feature Reading Buddies on a wall display.

  • April is National Volunteer Month- Recognize Reading Buddies at an assembly.

  • Invite Reading Buddies to Year End field trips

If a student reaches grade level mid-year, do I move that student out of the program?

We recommend that students stay with their Reading Buddy the entire year, even if they reach grade-level. Reading Buddies and students both benefit from the continued interaction and support in their learning journey.