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Starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom? Some tips and a freebie!


Starting a #ReadingBuddies program in your classroom- Some tips and a freebie to get you started!


Thinking about starting a Reading Buddies program in your classroom this year? Here are some tips and tools to get things rolling!

Consider putting School-wide Reading Buddies on a staff meeting agenda.

Discuss the benefits for all students with your divisional leads and administration, and even if the seed of the idea is planted to be reassessed next year, it will give you a sense of who might be open to a pairing for this year.

Take age into consideration.

An age / grade difference of 2-3 years between buddies puts a clear boundary between who the big buddies and little buddies are.

Approach a colleague about pairing classes…

…and be realistic about whether your schedules will work! Casual conversation over lunch can often accomplish this, but it seems like our time is less our own these days! I have created this free letter and form to simplify the process:

Reading Buddies teacher letter free 

Build Reading Buddy time into your timetable.

When ‘it’s official’ everyone knows what to expect, when. Perhaps it is alternate week familiar reading, word-work, or math skills review through games, part of character education or religious education for forty minutes. While  may Reading Buddies may not appear in on the timetable your principal has to hand in to the school board, it’s important that the kids have this special time to look forward to. It could even happen over lunch!

Define expectations to both classes.

This is accomplished best if done as individual classes, as the expectations differ for the age groups in some ways. Review general expectations when they are brought together for the first few times, and provide visual reminders. Reading Buddies time can quickly look like recess if sixty kids are unsure of what the rules are, half the kids, ‘read the book already’ and have decided to hang out with someone else!

Talk to your partner class’ teacher about general and specific expectations.

I wrote general expectations in a storybook lesson format for my students, explaining to the bigger buddies (third graders) ‘This is what I am reading to your little buddies‘ (kindergarters). One of my valued TpT customers reads her class the story, then posts the pages on a bulletin board! I love that!

Here are some ideas for general expectations from my Reading Buddies Starter pack:

Student expectations defined in That Fun Reading Teacher's Reading Buddies Starter Pack

What are some expectations that you find important to put in place during Reading Buddies time?

Best wishes to all you!

    I.M. at 

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle


The benefits of a Reading Buddies program and not just the little buddies! by That Fun Reading Teacher Reading Buddies

#BTS Big Bundle by That Fun Reader Teacher Rethinking Reading Logs for young students by That Fun Reading Teacher

The benefits of Reading Buddy Programs

The benefits of a Reading Buddies program by That Fun Reading Teacher
[/Image credit: gelpi / 123RF Stock Photo


Just typing the term Reading Buddies brings a smile to my face.

When I was teaching kindergarten and first grade, my students always had Reading Buddies (older students from a partner class). The older buddies usually came weekly to read with my students and do a fun activity.

Having a Reading Buddy program in my classroom is one of the things I missed when I was teaching Reading Recovery. When I became a special education teacher (providing literacy support to students up to the third grade), I set up buddy reading between some of my third grade students and snacking Kindergarten students. Half of them were interested when I first suggested bringing their ‘most practiced’ books to kindergarten, weekly, during recess. After the first month, click here to continue reading…

                               The Reading Buddies Starter Pack