HIGH POINT, N.C., DATE, 2015 – Heaven Shamberger made her way through the halls of the High Point University School of Education today to place her handmade ornament on a tree in the lobby.
Underneath it, she found a gift with her name on it. It was from her book buddy, HPU student Ashley Voner. Inside, there was a book with a sparkly cover and the word “Heaven” across the front. And inside that book was a reading log of every book that Shamberger and Vonor have read together this semester in one-on-one weekly reading sessions.
“I love the sparkly book that Ms. Voner made for me,” said Shamberger. “Every week we have read about so many different things like dinosaurs and pigs. Since I have been working with Ms. Voner I have gotten a lot better at reading and really enjoy reading too.”
Among Shamberger and Voner were 45 HPU education majors who were paired with their Montlieu Academy of Technology book buddies since the beginning of the school year to encourage and facilitate reading in a one-on-one setting for the elementary school children. The HPU students would spend an hour a week at Montlieu Academy reading to their elementary buddy.
“I have made a good friend in my book buddy Chloe, and I have loved being able to see how she developed every week,” said HPU student Jordan Green. “Each week she would come in and something changed. She would get better and better at reading and I am very proud of how far she has come.”
At the end of the year celebration today, each child was able to read with their buddies, make an ornament to put on the tree and receive a reading log and new book wrapped for them under the tree.
“The partnership that we have with High Point University for the Book Buddy event is so powerful because it gets these kids motivated to read,” said Lindsey Green, literacy curriculum facilitator for Montlieu Academy of Technology. “A lot of these students are struggling with reading and feel like giving up. This program helps them to enjoy reading because of the great one-on-one attention that they are able to have. They actually look forward to the sessions they have with their buddy and I hope to continue this partnership we have with High Point University.”
The HPU School of Education hosts many community events throughout the year such as Lego Days where children use Legos to enhance their understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and a Reading Institute for children to brush up on their reading skills over the summer.
“We have truly enjoyed working with these kids throughout the semester,” said Leslie Cavendish, assistant professor of education at HPU. “We love doing the book buddies event every year because it gives these children one-on-one attention when it comes to reading, and they are able to learn from their buddy in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. We also know how important it is for children to have books at home, and this is our small gift to them.”