Reading Buddies is a weekly program that allows elementary students to work one-on-one with a trained, supportive mentor to help boost reading skills such as fluency and comprehension. Twice each week, a Big Buddy and a Little Buddy pair read together in 30-minute segments. This allows each volunteer mentor to work with two students over the course of the academic year. The Big Buddy’s job is to be a coach and role model whose love of books is contagious — and maybe even life-changing — for the Little Buddy.

What: Reading practice, games, and book activities with young students.

Where: Selected schools across Chicago.

When: Twice-weekly during the school year.

Who: 2nd & 3rd grade students, Open Books staff, and volunteer Big Buddies.

Plus: The Open Booksmobile visits each Buddies site at the end of the year so that students can choose a bag of books to take home.

Prospective Big Buddies: See the dates and locations of our Buddies programs and join us as a volunteer!

Educators: Email us about bringing Buddies to your classroom.


While the students work on the nuts and bolts of reading, the students are also growing their vocabularies — and their confidence.

 Read the rest of the article (and see the video) about Reading Buddies!