supporting Cambridge public school students

Armfuls of Good From an MIT Department

two women with armfuls of books, including "Just Joking—Cats"

Here I Am, by Patti Kim, was among 40 new books that an MIT department recently put into the hands of our Reading Buddies volunteers and their first-grade buddies this year. Students and staff of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering picked out and donated books to the program, which is geared toward instilling a love of reading. Last year we celebrated Sanofi Genzyme’s twentieth year in the Reading Buddies partnership at this public elementary school, where a small group of community volunteers also serve as buddies.

Traci Swartz, of MIT’s Community Service Office (at left, in photo), coordinated the donation along with Sara Smith of the MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. CSV Reading Buddies Director Susan Reynolds (at right, in photo) provided a suggested book list and CSV’s gratitude to the department and to the community service office.

CSV also operates the Reading Buddies Program at Kennedy-Longfellow School with students in Grade 2 and Grade 3 and buddies who work for Volpe DOT. The program is approaching its 22nd year at this school.

Teachers, buddies and students all agree that an infusion of new and engaging books, such as the MIT department’s donation, makes a big difference in their experience. Contact us at for our book wish list.

What’s it like

to be a CSV Reading Buddy?

My buddy started to share emotions regarding the fiction readings we selected. He would tell me if he was nervous, happy, etc. based on what was occurring in the book. It was extremely touching and reminded me of my own humanity and vulnerability.

Sometimes my buddy and I would find a word in another language — French, Spanish, Russian. We had a lot of fun sounding those out and learning about different languages.

Reading Buddy at Fletcher Maynard Academy

Participating classroom teachers say this, about Reading Buddies:

I think it was great that Buddies encouraged students to read a variety of texts, not just old favorites. Reading both fiction and nonfiction is critical for students.

Reading buddies makes kids excited to read for that time period as they are so excited to share the experience with their buddy!