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Book Buddies create success

While some students spend the chapel and lunch periods finishing homework or talking with peers, Book Buddy volunteers encourage reading to the children of Pinedale Elementary.

Diana Dille, education career counselor at California State University, Fresno, began the Book Buddies organization in 1994. The program was created to help improve children who are below reading level. Pinedale has some of the lowest scores in reading and writing compared to the other Clovis Unified School Districts (CUSD) schools.

The teachers at Pinedale select children from their classes to take part in Book Buddies. About 70 kids participate in the program each year.

?Book Buddies is beneficial to the young students because kids have someone who is committed to them each week and it boosts their confidence,? Linda Amparano, Pinedale reading coordinator, said. ?Most come from larger families where there is not much one-on-one time.?

Amparano attended Pinedale Elementary and decided she wanted to give back to future attendants. After her daughter graduated from this campus, Amparano began connecting the program with campus students.

?There was a girl in the program one year and she did so well that she no longer needed the program,? Amparano said. ?The next year she was not offered Book Buddies, because she was not below reading level. She began to struggle that year and came to me and begged to be back in Book Buddies. She realized the value of Book Buddies at such a young age.?

Book Buddy volunteers meet once a week to bond with the children and help expand their reading level. The group meets every Tues. during chapel, and will be transported by busses to Pinedale Elementary.

?I am really looking forward working with the children,? Kelly Gong, ?08, said. ?I want to form a bond with them through all of the one-on-one time.?

The 10 campus participants for Book Buddies will meet with the children and begin reading sessions, on Oct. 9.

During the meeting Dille said, “You (FC volunteers) will become a crucial person for young readers; these are the kids (Pinedale participants) who haven’t experienced much success. This will determine success for the rest of their lives and requires practically no effort and little time on your part.”

For more information call Amparano at (559)327-7778.

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