Book Buddies: Summer Reading Possibilities

book buddies (c) Itasca Community Library

Many of us are familiar with book buddies, buddy-reading programs that are in many of our schools. For whatever reason, I have looked at book buddies as more of a “school thing.” But they aren’t!

Book Buddies can be a great tool for summer, too. Whether it is siblings reading with one another, a reading play date, or even a neighbor’s child interested in spending a little time with younger kids … book buddies can help ward off the Summer Slide.

As we continue through the summer, I will be pulling a number of posts I wrote for the Big Universe Learning blog to add to the Family Bookshelf. Here is the next post in our summer series.

Book Buddies: Creating Reading Evangelists

Like many schools, my daughter’s elementary school has a book buddy program where older students read with younger students.

This year my daughter reads with two first grade girls. She loves her book buddies and the privilege of reading with these younger students. She looks forward to her Thursday morning time with them. Watching her these past few weeks, she is slowly – and unwittingly – becoming a book evangelist.

Beginning in early November she started asking  me to select books from my office (affectionately known as “Mom’s Work Library”)  that she could read with the girls. She’d look at the covers of the picture books and easy readers and decide whether or not it would suit their tastes.  Some suggestions make her cut, some do not.

Sabuda popup bookLast week, Catherine asked if she could take one of our family treasures to school: Winter’s Tale: An Original Pop-up Journey by Robert Sabuda. This week she is taking Sabuda’s pop-up edition of Clement Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.

Anyone who knows illustrator Robert Sabuda’s work knows how intricate and delicate the popups are. For years I have held my breath as she handled these books, so you can imagine my trepidation taking them to school.

So why did I say yes? Because these are treasures to her. Every year for as long as I can remember, when we pull out the crate of holiday books, Catherine looks for these first. She marvels at how the story unfolds, explores the art to understand how it all works, and wants to show us the books over and over again, even though we all know them by heart.

She is passionate about these books – they bring her joy so powerful she wants to share it. Without her book buddy program she would be less likely to explore reading from someone else’s viewpoint or taste. She would be less likely to share a passion for her favorite stories. She might not ever realize that she’s turning into a bookworm!


In what ways have you spotted a reading evangelist in your children? I’d love to celebrate your story!

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