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Middle Schoolers Teach Reading to Their 'Book Buddies' at Library

The program lets elementary-school students learn some literacy from their slightly older peer volunteers.

Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Western Springs recently wrapped up its "Book Buddies" program, a three-session peer-tutoring exercise in which Western Springs middle-school students were paired with elementary-schoolers to work on various literacy exercises.

On Monday, the "big Buddies" worked the "little Buddies" through various kids' books about presidents (like the well-known Duck for President); two previous sessions focused on Kevin Henkes' musine books (Chester's Way, Chrysanthemum) and books about snow.

“What we found is that, after the first session, even the kids that came and were kind of posturing… kind of fell for the kids,” said librarian Heather Booth. “They were so excited to share the books with them and were really looking forward to it. Last week, there were several of the younger kids who got sick and the big Buddies were so disappointed.

“And it’s really neat to see the little ones, some of them are so shy [at the beginning] and they’ve really opened up to having someone who’s not an adult working with them, someone who’s a little more accessible to them.”

About 30 Buddies, big and little, took part in the program.

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