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Reading Buddy

If you are 14 years and over, why not become an Idea Store Reading Buddy Volunteer?

Helping young children with their reading can be rewarding for all involved.

Idea Stores are looking for Reading Buddy Volunteers to help spread the word of the importance of reading and making it as enjoyable as reading should be! 

Please note: you must be a Tower Hamlets resident to apply for volunteering opportunities in Idea Store.

What is a Buddy Reading?

  • Buddy Reading is a fun way to help people learn to read, whether they are adults or children.  A Buddy Reader, a person who knows how to read well. They read with a child [and possibly a parent too] who cannot read as well and together they choose a book that isn’t too hard and find a good spot to read  in the Children’s Library.
  • Reading aloud while the Little Buddy follows along: Buddy Reading helps children hear the sounds of words when someone else reads with them.  When they learn the sounds of the words better, they are able to figure out the pronunciation of the words.
  • Buddies can help build up a child’s fluency by allowing them opportunities to read aloud without the pressure of peers being in the audience.
  • Buddies help build self-esteem and reading skills by providing individual attention. Bonding and modelling is just as important as the reading, so part of your time will be engaging with young children in the children’s library.
  • By sharing favourite books, children begin to understand that reading can be pleasurable.  This will help them improve reading skills and foster a lifelong love of reading.
  • Pairing up for one-on-one reading time, ideally encouraging that child to meet with you again next week for a 20 minute session.
  • Choosing a story that suits yourself and the reader, sitting beside one another and allow the Little Buddy to hold the book and turn the pages.  To talk about the title, study the pictures, and pause to talk about what you have read now and again.
  • Keeping a log of what has been read to whom.

What skills do I need to be a Reading Buddy?

Can you:

  • Work as part of a team and in using your skills to work on your own?
  • Read well, especially out loud?
  • Actively listen and stay calm?
  • Communicate well? 
  • Willingness to participate as required in training as appropriate
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and a commitment to equal opportunities?
  • Assist with practical ideas for helping customers?
  • Make a commitment to a regular volunteering slot of at least 2 hours per week for a minimum period of 12 weeks?
  • Be sensitive, sympathetic and understanding to your Buddy’s needs?
  • Happily participate in regular appropriate training?

Do I need additional skills?

A knowledge of children’s literature would be desirable, but is not essential.

What else do I need to know?

  • All successful volunteers will need to be able to obtain two references.
  • All successful volunteers over the age of 16 will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check.  Under the age of 18, signed parent consent forms will be needed.

What happens next?

If you would like to be a Idea Store Reading Buddy please complete and submit the Volunteer Application Form.

Due to the volume of applications received, you will be contacted if your application can be considered at this stage.