A new team of Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) students and employees completed their formal training and began their Reading Buddies role with all second graders at the Amigos School. About 30 new and returning volunteers have been coming via van to the Amigos School every week for the read-aloud sessions.
Now in its fourteenth year, Reading Buddies has been a vibrant and unique mentoring program between the Amigos School and Harvard. When the school moved to 15 Upton Street this fall, Harvard deepened its commitment to the program by paying for a bus to ferry volunteers from the Harvard campus to the new Amigos School location.
Since second graders at the school alternate their weekly academic instruction, one week in English and the next week in Spanish, the lunchtime Reading Buddies conform to this schedule, half of the mentors reading books in English, the other half reading Spanish titles the following week (the Spanish language component is called Lectores y Amiguitos). The result is that every second grader has both an English Reading Buddy and Spanish-speaking Lectore.
The program has been a great success, as noted by Corinne Varon-Green, who with Luisa Quintanilla, are the lead teachers at the Amigos School for this exciting program. Students anticipate the arrival of their Buddy each week. They love being read to and the chance to have an adult friend who focuses just on them. Students get to choose the books they read, and conversations often flow to related topics of interest to the student.
Students and Buddies are looking forward to both end-of-year picnics: one with Spanish food and gift books for the student participants as well as a second picnic for the English-speaking pairs in Radcliffe Yard.
CSV thanks its HGSE volunteers and the Amigos staff for their participation and support this year. Based on research that shows the value of guided reading by adults to children, the Reading Buddies program anticipates a continued partnership with the Harvard community.