Nelson Elementary has had the wonderful opportunity of taking part in the Reading Buddies Program for several years. The students spend one on one quality time with a volunteer sharing their love for reading while also building valuable mentor and student relationships. This is a priceless opportunity for Nelson’s students.
Lynn Kamps, the program's coordinator, has created opportunities for volunteers to give back by reading with Nelson Elementary School Students. “I volunteer with Community enCompass' Reading Buddies program because I desire to work alongside fellow Muskegon residents to help make life the best it can be for all of us,” expresses Lynn.
The purpose of Reading Buddies is to not only help the students at Nelson School build confidence in reading but also to provide opportunities for volunteers to share their time and attention towards helping the children of our future succeed. More than 30 volunteers give an hour or more a week, dedicating themselves to reading with an average of 60 students weekly.
Volunteer and neighbor, April Thompson, has dedicated herself for the last 5 years to Reading Buddies and says, "There is such a need to help our children exceed in their reading abilities in order for them to learn, grow, and become more fluent academically, and hopefully encourage them to pursue higher education for themselves."
Reading Buddies helps students expand their vocabulary and knowledge while gaining fluency. Incentives are donated by volunteers and given as rewards for attitude, attention and attendance. Nelson School has been very open to the program, offering a classroom exclusively for the program's use. The Reading Buddy classroom has a positive, quiet atmosphere where students can also come for help with book reports and even an occasional math lesson. The Nelson Neighborhood Association has donated $1500 in the past three years towards the purchase of a beautiful selection of new books for the room. In addition, a broad array of books has been donated by individuals, churches, and Nelson School.
The reading room is a favorite place for many students, as expressed by a Nelson Elementary teacher: “The Reading Buddies was something that my 2nd graders looked forward to every week. They all wished that they could go! Sometimes, if we would be in the middle of an engaging science experiment when the Reading Buddy volunteer would come to pick the kids up, I would give the kids the option so that they wouldn't miss out on the science experiment, but they would all still choose to go and read!
Besides the wonderful help with reading, the Reading Buddies also provided one-on-one attention to our students, on which our students thrived. We greatly appreciate our Reading Buddies.”
Reading Buddies volunteers come from all over Muskegon. Padnos and ADAC Automotive allow their employees release time from work to read with students.
Volunteers have stepped up even further to help fight illiteracy, by opening up the Reading Buddies room to help young adults and parents who may feel the need to improve their reading skills. One neighbor who has taken advantage of this extra help says, "It is a great feeling to be in a quiet private place to learn how to read without judgment."
Another teacher writes: “Reading Buddies is a powerful program! Every child that worked with reading buddies this year made over their yearly growth. As a teacher it is so helpful to have other adults to sit and read one on one with my kids. There is just no substitute for that.”
The teachers and students at Nelson Elementary thank everyone in the program for volunteering their time to help their students become better readers!
Why not volunteer an hour of your time next school year to be a buddy to a student at Nelson School?! For more information, please inquire through Volunteer Match. For all other volunteer positions check out our Volunteer Page
The 2017 - 2018 Reading Buddies volunteers and donors:
Nelson Neighborhood Association. April Thompson, Padnos, Nikki Burmeister, Kathy Cron, Sue Deitrick, Jackie Fielder, Marilyn Fox, Cindy Henderson, Donna Hood, Brandon Johnson, Lynn Kamps, Kimberly Barnes, Venessa McCowan, Deanna Monroe, Bill Naymick, Nancy Piersma, Kathleen Playford, Linda Potter, Gaye Rollins, Susan Schecter, Duane Schecter, April Thompson, Barbara Thurston, Mary Ellen Wilcox, Sharon Zea, Mary Beth DeKoning, Roxanne Hubbell, Kurt Alderink, Jamie Benedict, Tim Freye, Mitch McIntyre, Judy Jadzsk, Adriana Sybenga, Susan Kesteloot, Celine Chandler, George Stefaniak, Anne Sandison, Debra Berry, Anna
Kucharski, Gretchen Blanik, Roxie Kinney, and Elaine Brevick.
Written by Kimberly Barnes.