Volunteer Spotlight: Book Buddies

A Celebration of Reading

On June 16th at Gov. Clinton Elementary School, Book Buddies volunteers and students gathered to celebrate more than 750 hours of reading they have done together.  Book Buddies, sponsored by Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley, a United Way nonprofit partner, is a program that gives elementary school students the opportunity to read one-on-one with an adult volunteer.  Mr. David Scott, Principal of Gov. Clinton Elementary, and Mrs. Julie Falco, Reading Specialist, thanked Book Buddies’ volunteers for partnering with Gov. Clinton Elementary School in their focus on Mission Literacy and for instilling a love of reading in the children.
To start the celebration, the children happily marched in with a carnation to thank their volunteer whom they met with each week during the school year.  After enjoying a snack and making a bookmark, the celebration ended with the children excitedly choosing a new book.  The books were generously donated by Betty Harrel’s Leading to Reading team of the Poughkeepsie AAUW and Ellen Rubin with the Empire State Center for the Book.
Book Buddies coordinator, Judy Connolly, expressed her thanks to all of the volunteers who give so generously of their time.  Book Buddies volunteers come from all parts of the community and range from college age to retirees.  The Book Buddies program’s goal is to help ensure as many children as possible read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.  This is a critical time for children to read at grade level since it is when they are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn.  The volunteers were thrilled to learn that thanks to the generosity of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region and Dutchess County Government, the Book Buddies program will be funded for the 2016-2017 school year during which time they hope to expand the program to two additional schools. 
Book Buddies is a program of Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley which has been helping people in the community to “read, write, and reach their potential” for more than 40 years.  For the 2015-2016 school year, more than 100 Book Buddies volunteers read with over 150 children one-on-one and 150 children in classrooms each week in 11 schools across Dutchess and Orange counties.  Anyone who has a love for reading that they would like to share with children in the community can consider volunteering for the Book Buddies program. For information, visit our volunteer portal at http://volunteer.uwdor.org or http://bit.ly/volunteer-literacyconnections.

--Judy Connolly, Book Buddies Coordinator (Dutchess County), Literacy Connections