Thursday, April 29, 2021

Be a ‘Buddy’

Church begins new reading program

Inkster children now have a buddy to help them develop strong reading skills.

Smith Chapel AME Church in Inkster has instituted a Reading Buddy Program which is designed to help children in grades K-4 improve reading and comprehension skills.  After consulting with a parent, each child is matched with a Reading Buddy who will read a book with the child.

Books are chosen from a curated reading list with a focus on cultural awareness, history and dream building.  Brand new books are mailed to the child free of charge and each time a child completes a certain number of books (two, five, 10) the child receives an incentive award. Children can keep the books to add to, or create, their personal library.   Pastor Katrese Kirk McKenzie said she believes the Reading Buddy Program can make a difference in a child's ability to be on pace, or possibly exceed, their grade level for reading and comprehension.  

“Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen reports of families who use tutoring services and learning pods, to make sure their children do not lose ground with their studies.  However, many are concerned that children who can't afford those resources and are being left behind as schools alternate between remote and face-to-face learning.  Research has shown the more children read, the wider their vocabularies become, which leads to better communication and writing skills.  The bottom line is strong reading skills are essential to academic and career success,” Kirk McKenzie said.

Currently, all interactions between the child and the Reading Buddy are by Facetime, Zoom and other digital platforms, convenient to the family schedule.  All Reading Buddies are volunteers, who have undergone training with licensed teachers and have had an independent background check.  

Some Buddies are currently teachers in local school systems.  

For more information, or an application to participate in the Reading Buddy Program contact  admin@smith