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Improve Literacy Newsletter

30 August 2010 -- Issue 25

Hi everyone,

I've been hearing quite a bit recently about 'Reading Buddies', so in the last week or so I've been looking into the phenomenon in a bit more detail. Let's get straight to the good stuff!

In this issue:

1. All about 'Reading Buddies'
2. Some 'buddy up' activities to help a struggling reader
3. Buddy Reading website resources
4. We're on Amazon!
5. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

1. All about 'Reading Buddies'

Sometimes reading out loud to a parent or teacher can be a confronting experience for some young children, particularly if they are struggling readers. When they read to an adult they frequently see it as being a test, and that can end up having a detrimental effect on the child.

With buddy reading, students read a text with older or younger students during a set time period. The text itself shouldn't be too difficult for either party.

Reading together with a peer, sibling, friend or even to a pet can have beneficial effects on a young reader.

2. Some 'buddy up' activities to help a struggling reader

Here are a few 'buddy up' activities your child can carry out to improve his reading skills.

a. Read with younger children - this is a great way for a child to gain reading confidence, and reading together with a younger sibling, or school colleague, and helping them with words and phrases, can work wonders with his own reading development.

b. Read to pet - as strange as this may sound, reading to a furry friend can do amazing things for a young reader's emergent literacy skills. In fact, a study this year by researchers at the University of California has shown that young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent over the course of a 10-week program, while children in the same program who didn't read to dogs showed no improvement.

c. Ask your child's teacher about whether he or she is willing to participate in a buddy reading program, either during or after school. Make sure you are realistic when you talk to the teacher about the schedule for buddy reading and how much class time you think it will involve.

d. Prepare your child for buddy reading sessions by reading the chosen passages together with her beforehand, and then asking questions about the text afterwards. Make sure you choose a fairly easy book that she can read fluently and with expression. She should be able to answer simple questions about the story, as she may need to explain what has happened to her buddy.

e. Have family reading evenings - invite family members, such as grandparents, uncles and aunties, to come over for a book reading session, and try taking turns reading a page at a time. Your child will relish joining in the fun!

3. Buddy Reading resources

A few useful websites and resources on the subject of buddy reading:

a. Scholastic -
The site has a 'Buddy Reading Center' that lists tips and activities for reading buddies, as well as providing a detailed background to the topic.

b. eHow -
A step-by-step guide to buddy reading, which focuses on how to teach it successfully. It considers preparing the buddies, preparing the readers and preparing the classroom, as well as tips and resources and additional resources.

c. Think Quest -
Breaks buddy reading down into the various questions a buddy can ask the reader, as well as giving hints and tips, strategies, and advice for when the reading buddy gets stuck.

d. Brighthub -
A blog-style article by child literacy writer and teacher Margo Dill, giving advice about buddy reading, with user comments at the bottom of the page.

e. Teacher Vision -
A very detailed article that provides an in-depth analysis of buddy reading, including what it is, why it's important, when it should be taught, and how best to put it in place.

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