Lee Elementary has a large population of bus students who arrive at 7:15 every morning. At the beginning, these students were sitting in the cafeteria or gym until 7:40 every morning to wait for their teachers.

Reading Buddies changed that.

The Leader in Me Leadership Team came up with the idea of having the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders read to the kindergarten and 1st graders, and the idea was implemented this past October.

An older student (“Big”) reads to the same younger students (“Littles) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Bigs read books that are on the K and 1st grade level, and then the Littles take an AR (Accelerated Reader) test on iPads.  The program is now in a transition process where the Littles are reading to their Bigs.

Here are some of the things that Reading Buddies are saying about the program:

  • Alana, 1st grade –“Reading is fun. (My Big) lets me take AR tests. I love her and getting to spend time with her.”
  •  Avery, 3rd grade- “I like reading to the little kids.”  Will you do it next year? “Yes, for sure!” he replied.
  • Madyson, 4th grade – “I like to read with my little buddy because she tried to read a Pete the Cat book to me. I have built a bond with her. At recess she comes to me and gives me a hug.”
  • Marlee, 5th grade – “Reading is fun because I get to meet young kids. It makes me feel great to be able to help out when she’s having a hard time.”

Reading buddies has been a tremendous success. The Bigs take pride in helping others, and they are increasing their reading skills as they strive to be excellent role models in reading.

The Littles think it is cool to read with Bigs and are improving their reading skills. The relationships that the students are developing are very special, and we have seen a change in student behavior, attitude and respect for themselves and others that extends beyond the Reading Buddies program.

It is truly a win-win for Lee Elementary!