The Glanbrook Gazette. Thursday, July 11, 2013, by Tamara Botting

The Binbrook library is looking for volunteers to help with its summer Reading Buddies program.

“The Reading Buddies program’s purpose is to maintain, or even better, improve, the students’ reading in July and August,” said Cadi Obermeyer, volunteer coordinator with Hamilton Public Library (HPL).

“Some children would read on their own, but others need some encouragement.  Come September, many teachers see that their students’ reading skills slide during the summer.”

Students can sign up to take part in the program anytime during the summer, but as volunteers need to be trained, they can only sign up until Tuesday, July 23; the final training session will take place in Binbrook the next day, Wednesday, July 24, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

For two hours a week, from 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the volunteer and their reading buddy will work together on maintaining and developing literacy skills.

There is no cost to take part in the Reading Buddies program; it is available to students who have graduated Grade 1 through to Grade 5 (up to 12 years of age).

“The Reading Buddies program is intended to be fun, to instill a love of reading in the children at the youngest age possible,” said Obermeyer.  To this end, the Reading Buddies program is not just limited to reading books, but also includes playing literacy games, like Scrabble Jr. and doing work searches.

“To make sure that the children are understanding what they’ve read, we might have them draw a picture about the story,” said Obermeyer.

Currently, there are 12 children registered for the program, with more being added regularly, but there are only six volunteers.

“Ideally, we’d like to have the volunteers working one-on-one with their reading buddies,” said Obermeyer, noting that the volunteers have been doubling up to ensure that everyone gets to take part in the program.

“We have some wonderful retired teachers who have volunteered for the program,” said Obermeyer, adding that a retired HPL employee has also signed up to help out.

She is hoping that more people will consider volunteering, especially high school students.

“Volunteering with the Reading Buddies program can count towards students’ volunteer hours to graduate from high school,” she said, adding that the volunteers must be 14 years of age and older or graduated from Grade 8.

Currently, HPL’s policy does not require a police check for volunteers in the Reading Buddies program.

To register to volunteer in the Reading Buddies program, go online at www.hpl.ca/about-hpl/volunteer-hpl.  Questions about the program can be directed to volunteer@hpl.ca.

The Binbrook library is located at 2641 Highway 56.

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