HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 24, 2014 – Jairus Jones, a third-grader at Montlieu Academy of Technology, wandered up and down the library aisles in the High Point University School of Education with his book buddy Breana Pavenski, a junior at HPU, in search of a book he’d like to read in the future.
“I like Franklin books the best,” Jones said. “I’m really picky about what book I read, but there’s a lot to choose from here at this library.”
Jones and dozens of other local elementary students recently enjoyed an excursion to HPU for an end-of-semester reading celebration.
As members of the HPU “Book Buddies” program, students from Montlieu Academy and Florence Elementary have enjoyed weekly visits from HPU education majors since the beginning of the semester at their school for one-on-one reading sessions.
On Nov. 21, their time together on the HPU campus included a scavenger hunt that sent children all over the School of Education (SOE) building. The buddies also explored the SOE library; counted stockings hung throughout the building; read some of their favorite books together; and created ornaments to adorn the SOE Festival Tree.
Then the real magic happened.
Each elementary student had three wrapped gifts under the Festival Tree: a book written by HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein; a book HPU students specially selected for their book buddy; and a scrapbook reading log HPU education majors had compiled that chronicled all the books the buddies had read together.
“The partnerships HPU has with Montlieu and Florence are important to us,” said Dr. Leslie Cavendish, assistant professor of education at HPU. “The positive relationships our students create with their book buddies are really the heart of why we do this program year after year.”
Throughout the course of the semester, HPU junior Amy Jamil has enjoyed getting to know her book buddy Rodyrick.
“I’ve loved every second of this process,” Jamil said. “At first, Rodyrick was very shy and didn’t want to read around me at all. I’ve seen him progress so much throughout the semester – it’s amazing how far he’s come since then.”
Moving forward, the SOE students will continue to work with their buddies next semester as a reading tutor.