Ashley Woo is among the 35 ‘big buddies,’ part of Langley Literacy Network’s Reading Buddy program, who volunteered their time through the 2021-22 school year to read virtually to 70 younger students. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Ashley Woo is among the 35 ‘big buddies,’ part of Langley Literacy Network’s Reading Buddy program, who volunteered their time through the 2021-22 school year to read virtually to 70 younger students. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley high school students help each youngsters boost reading skills

About 35 ‘big buddies’ virtually read to 70 ‘little buddies’ through Langley Literacy Network program

A proud volunteer, Ashley Woo, was ecstatic to see her little buddies doing well and developing proficient reading skills.

Woo was among the 35 ‘big buddies,’ part of Langley Literacy Network’s Reading Buddy program, who volunteered their time through the 2021-22 school year to read virtually to 70 younger students.

“At the end of the term, I could tell my Little Buddies were reading not only competently but confidently,” she said with a grin.

Under the reading buddies initiative, the local literacy network pairs different grade-level students for community reading time outside of school hours.

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“A Grade 10, 11 or 12 student buddies up with a Grade 1, 2 or 3 students to practice reading,” shared Donna Gibson, Langley Literacy outreach coordinator.

The benefits are profound, Gibson added.

“Reading buddies allows younger readers to see what being fluent looks like as they have a peer model demonstrating reading skills. They can also acquire a positive role model with some intentional pairing.”

For Woo, the program offered an opportunity to learn “empathy, cooperation and patience.”

In addition to offering life skills, Gibson said the program helps students complete school volunteer hours. The program also supports newcomers arriving in Langley together with teens who have grown up here.

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When COVID impacted the world, the Langley Literacy Network had to switch to a virtual setting. Even during the pandemic, Gibson said the program was a “great” success.

Starting this fall, the network of local agencies that are devoted to boosting literacy for all ages will be doing a hybrid program.

Langley Literacy Network is looking for students to register in advance. Gibson said parents should encourage big buddies to participate in making a difference in younger children’s lives.

For more details and to register, people can visit, langleyliteracynetwork.com.

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