The Liberty Lake Library is preparing to launch a Reading Buddy program at the end of the month that will connect Kindergarten to Grade 4 students with local teens so they can explore reading.
The library hopes to develop a program that will help students who are struggling with their reading skills or who are looking for additional topics to explore, said children’s librarian Erin Smith. It will also give young students a chance to read with someone other than their parents, Smith said.
Using teens for the program seemed like a natural fit, Smith said. âWe’ve had great programs with our teens,â she said. “They helped with the crafting programs and the Harry Potter Halloween party.”
The teens seem eager to help, Smith said. âWe actually have most of them lined up,â she said. âMaybe we could use a few more. “
Reading Buddy sessions will be held on the fourth Friday and Saturday of each month through March. There is still room for Kindergarten to Grade 4 students and a waiting list will be established if necessary, Smith said. “We have quite a few who are registered or who should register,” she said.
Friday reading hours at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. are full, Smith said, but there are still slots available at 1, 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays. âIt fills up quickly,â she said.
Smith said she wasn’t surprised the program fills up even though the first session doesn’t last a month. âI think there are a lot of needs,â she said. âI think with COVID some kids are late. As a former reading scholar, I think people are interested in this little extra support.
The Reading Buddy program is not structured by the library, Smith said. It is designed to meet children where they are and help them discover what kind of books they like.
âIt’s not a one size fits all,â she said. “There are so many reluctant readers out there and I think a big part of it is because they just haven’t been exposed to books they love.”
Once kids find a genre or topic that interests them, they’re much more likely to enjoy reading, Smith said.
When parents enroll their children in the program, they are asked to answer a few questions about their children in order to help their reading buddies find books that might interest them, she said.
The three-month Reading Buddy program is a trial run, Smith said. If successful, the program will likely continue and possibly expand to accommodate more children, she said.
Parents and teens interested in enrolling in the program can visit libertylakewa.gov/685/Reading-Buddies.