The Gift of Reading: How to be an Effective Reading Buddy
“A book is a gift you can open again and again” goes the adage. Reading stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, allows us to explore different ideas and theories, takes us on quests and adventures, and lets us experience and feel a rollercoaster of emotions.
Wouldn’t it be nice to share this gift to a reading buddy? You get to promote the love of reading, while at the same time, you get to improve on your own reading skills and enhance your social skills. Most of all, becoming a reading buddy is a great opportunity for you to lend a hand to someone who hasn’t fully discovered the joys of reading yet. Here are a few tips for you to become a better reading buddy:
Choose your reading buddy.
Enlist the help of your teachers who work with students from the lower grades to find your ideal reading buddy. They’re well-aware of students who might be having reading difficulties, those who can truly use help in both reading and comprehension, as well as their vocabulary and grammar. Another way is to post an ad on your school’s bulletin board, but be sure you have your teachers’ approval. Of course, there might be school programs for this already put in place so you may not have to choose a reading buddy on your own.
Set a venue and schedule.
Have a systematic schedule for reading in place. If you’ve agreed that Wednesday is a light schedule for all of you, devote that day for reading, no ifs or buts about it. Also, it’s important to have a set venue every week that’s accessible for all. You may want to talk to your principal about reserving a classroom room or space at the library.
Choose the reading materials wisely.
You wouldn’t want to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to a reading buddy if the latter is in 4th grade, but you wouldn’t go so far as to read a 4th grader “Crime and Punishment” either. Junior high school reading materials like “The Lord of the Flies” make for a compelling read for young readers and can inspire an insightful discussion afterward. Occasionally, let the reading buddies choose the reading materials.
Make it engaging.
Keep in mind you’re reading to kids who are a few years younger than you, and they’re likely to have a short attention span. To capture their attention, put your actor’s hat on. Employ as much dramatics as you can when you read. Of course, you don’t have to ham it up to the extreme like you’re performing on Broadway, but play around with your tone, voice, and even facial expressions. Dramatic pauses can especially help to convey mystery and suspense.
Gauge their progress.
Take a pause from reading, maybe every two chapters or so, and check in with your reading buddies. Ask them what’s taking place in the story. Help them understand the material more in detail by posing questions like how do they relate to the character and what do they think will happen next.
Try a role reversal.
Once you’ve gone through numerous materials, it’s ideal to reverse the roles, where they’ll have to read a material of their own choosing to you. This way, they get to practice their reading skills, giving them a confidence boost at the same time. You’d be surprised at what they can offer, and who knows, maybe next time they’ll be the readers themselves.
With social networking sites hogging kids’ attention these days, it’s always good to instill the love for reading at an early age. Encouraging them to participate as a reading buddy will open their eyes to the wonders of reading, while at the same time, help them become better at reading and comprehension.
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