A Forever Friend

Paired reading is a research-based fluency strategy that has helped improve literacy in young or struggling readers. A reading partner can listen without judging, comfort and encourage. The fact that the partner provided through our Books & Buddies program is the non-verbal, furry kind doesn’t deter the progress, says Hayden Dry, teacher at Normandy Kindergarten Center.

“Having the stuffed animal really motivates them and makes reading more fun,” says Dry. “They’re especially excited when they’re able to choose their favorite book buddy at the end of the semester and take it home with them.”

Books & Buddies has been a staple program of Little Bit from early on; since 2015, more than 30,000 pairs have been delivered. At the start of each semester, books paired with stuffed animals are provided to every preschool through second grade class in our partner schools, to be used as a tool during reading times or with classroom curriculum. When the semester is over, students take their book and buddy with them as an extra resource to practice reading at home and to help build up a personal library. Often, the buddy becomes a forever friend.

“I remember a fifth grader who pulled out her buddy that we’d given her in kindergarten – she’d carried it in her backpack all those years,” says Volunteer Manager Lucy England.