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Book Buddies volunteer, encourage

Although many students choose to spend their lunch time at school hanging out with friends or finishing homework, others volunteer to spend over an hour once a week to help Pinedale Elementary School kids learn to read at a higher level.

The project, which counts for full community service credit, will match campus teens with students for 12 weeks to read 30 minutes a week.

Linda Amparano, the reading coordinator at Clovis Unified School District, appreciates the benefits the reading program has for their students.

?It increases their confidence,? Amparano said. ?It increases their desire to read, and in turn makes them become better readers.?

Many Pinedale students speak English as a second language and are 70% below the reading level. Some of these students also come from big families and do not have enough one-on-one time to spend with their parents.

During the book buddies meeting on Oct. 6, Amparano said, ?It’s a good opportunity to talk to the kids, and it gets the kids to want to read and enjoy reading.?

Freshman Raine Hayes, a volunteer for Book Buddies, is excited to share her love of reading with the younger students.

?I thought it would be fun,? Hayes said. ?I like to read, so I thought that I should help other kids learn to read.?

Amparano’s love for reading, as well as the students under her tutelage, gives her a special affinity for the project.

?I have a passion for kids in Pinedale,? Amparano said, ?and I want them to be on a level playing field as other kids in Clovis Unified.?

Sophomore Justin Wilson, another volunteer, participates in both Book Buddies and the similar program, Walking Buddies.

“I wanted to help the kids get more exercise,” Wilson said. “I decided to do this because it counts for community service credit, but it also gives the kids someone to talk to.”

Dolly Mizner, ’12, values the relationships she can create with the students through the project.

“I like working with kids,” Mizner said. “Plus, it counts for community service. Also, the girl I read to starts lots of conversations and she loves to read.”

For more information, call Amparano at (559) 327-7778, or visit the Oct. 4, 2007 article, Book Buddies create success.

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