We’ll be featuring specific reading-buddy programs in this space soon. If you’re part of a reading-buddy program, write and tell us about it so we can consider spotlighting your group. Email us at
If you are the coordinator of a reading-buddy program, please urge your participants to enter one of our writing contests to win books!
From Rev. Richard Miller, age 84, Hudson, Wisconsin
There is nothing more wonderful in my life than to have raised six children. I especially loved reading to them when they were young, and watching their faces as I told and retold stories.
My last ministry was in a church that had very few children, and our own children were long grown, so my wife and I decided to search for “surrogate” children. A local elementary school needed experienced adults to take on reading buddies. The idea was that first and second graders being read to would find their words unlocked, thanks to the enthusiasm and love volunteers could offer. We watched the children to whom we were assigned go from “It is too hard to read!” to “Gee, that is not hard, and I am in a new fantasy world with you reading with me.”
Although these children were seventy years younger than us, they cuddled up during reading time just like our own children had so many years before. We felt a sense of love and appreciation.
Five years after our stint as reading buddies, we were strolling down a sidewalk when a seventh-grader walked up to us and said, “You were the ones who helped me read five years ago when I was struggling.”
My wife and I remain grateful for memories of the moments when the faces of both our “surrogate children” and their teacher lit up with excitement.