About the Program
"Older students helping younger students become successful readers"
In addition to our community volunteers, we now offer upper class students the opportunity in our elementary schools to participate in our Sight Word Busters service as "Buster Buddy" volunteers.
How It Works:
Each Buster Buddy chosen from his or her 5th or 6th grade classroom, will attend a training session to learn how to conduct the Pretest, Buster Shuffle, and complete the SWB two-minute routine session. These trained upper class students, known as "Bigger Buddies," will volunteer in teams once a week in lower grade classrooms during their lunch recess. Using our Sight Word Buster teaching strategy, each Bigger Buddy will help students, known as "Little Buddies," from either a Kindergarten or 1st grade classroom, learn appropriate grade-level sight words. All Buster Buddies will be regularly monitored and supported by our SWB coordinators.
During their training, each Bigger Buddy will gain a better understanding of how dominating these high frequency words can directly impact a child's ability to read. Through this program, our Bigger Buddies have the opportunity to develop strong leadership and social skills by engaging in meaningful service. We have observed a boost in confidence among our Bigger Buddies, which can help them excel inside and outside the classroom. Additionally, our Bigger Buddies gain an increased sense of responsibility and will be able to observe, first hand, how their work benefits the students they are helping.
At the end of the year, each Bigger Buddy will receive a certificate and letter of service signed by the President of Sight Word Busters. We have noticed that our Little Buddies look forward to this peer-to-peer interaction each day. We have also observed that our Little Buddies learn faster with this "big brother/big sister" support. Our program generates an encouraging environment which promotes positive change, and a great sense of pride and accomplishment within each of our Buster Buddies.
In order to establish this program the following requirements must be met:
- At least one 5th or 6th grade teacher and one Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher must be willing to participate in the program.
- Each participating teacher will be required to attend a 30 minute briefing before the program can begin.
- The participating 5th or 6th grade teacher will be asked to recommend 4 to 8 students for the program.
- The participating 5th or 6th grade teacher must be willing to support their selected students by reminding them when it is their turn to serve in the assigned classroom.
- The participating Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher must be willing to allow two Bigger Buddies to work inside their classrooms during the allocated time (intermediate lunch recess).
- The participating Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher needs to identify a small space inside the classroom where the sessions will be held.
- The participating teachers must agree to our SWB service as a whole. Our Bigger Buddies are members of the SWB classroom team which consists of adult volunteers as well.
If you are ready to bring our Buster Buddies program to your school please contact the Sight Word Busters President, Linda LoBue, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.