Reading alone can be calming after a busy day, a much-needed escape when nothing is going our way, a personal triumph when we finish an ambitious book choice. As adults, many of us look forward to those minutes or hours alone when we can curl up with a marvelous novel, especially on these cold days and evenings.
But when you are a child, reading alone can be lonely. If you don't know the meaning of a word, there's no one to ask, and if you stumble on a pronunciation, no one will help you smooth it out. Every day children attend our Reading Parties and love partnering up with a volunteer, choosing new books from our bookshelves, and cuddling together to read each page and look at the pictures together. We hear sweet giggles when the books are funny, animal sounds when furry friends are the characters, and questions -- scores of questions -- the children pose to their "reading buddies."
"What is this word?"
"Why did the boy do that?"
"That doesn't really happen, does it?"
"Do people really live in this place?"
"Can I do that too?"
"Why is he/she called that?"
Listening to questions like these every day, we decided to design a pilot program called "Pajama Program Reading Buddy Plus." We've heard from many of our volunteers who have asked how they can participate in new ways with our children when they come.
Pajama Program Reading Buddy Plus will bring the same group of children every month from January through June. The same group of children will attend every visit and meet with the same volunteer every time so that a relationship is formed. Reading Buddy Plus will be about establishing a bond, creating a one-on-one book club.
Sometimes there's nothing better than reading alone -- and sometimes a reading buddy makes it better.