RSVP Reading Buddy






Program Timeline

Reading Buddy implementation and program timeline.

May - Registration

Schools submit end of the year RSVP Reading Buddy Survey and request Reading Buddy volunteers for 2018/2019 school year.  New schools please submit interest to

August – Reading Buddy Assignment

RSVP will contact school to confirm number of Reading Buddy volunteers requested.  RSVP will also request contact information for classrooms where volunteers will be assigned.

September – Meet and Greet

Classroom teachers with an assigned Reading Buddy volunteer will be asked to attend a “Meet and Greet” during their lunch or prep period.  The Meet & Greet allows the teacher to set tutoring schedule and get acquainted with the volunteer.

October – Tutoring Begins

Reading Buddy volunteers will begin meeting with students for 30 minute sessions once per week according to the time, date, and location agreed upon at the Meet and Greet.

November & Beyond

Teachers and/or school administration please report any issues and share success stories with RSVP at (417) 862-3586 or

Do you have a student or students who could benefit from a reading tutor or mentor?

A Reading Buddy is a trusted adult, 55 years or older, who meets with a K-3rd-grade student during the school day to ignite the love of reading, provide a positive adult mentor, and encourage struggling readers.  Reading Buddy volunteers are trained in tutoring basics, reading strategies, and tactics for working with at-risk students.  Every Reading Buddy passes the school district’s background check prior to tutoring.

Students selected for the program are identified as reading below grade level by their teacher but require no formal testing to be in the program.  The program is free and accessible since it’s offered during the school day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Reading Buddy Program an important resource to schools?

The Reading Buddy Program creates excitement about reading, helps students improve reading skills, and provides students an opportunity to ask questions free of peer pressure.  In one-on-one, 30 minute Reading Buddy sessions, students feel valued and accepted.  Parents need not worry about cost or transportation, as the sessions occur at school during the school day.

How does a school know which student(s) needs a Reading Buddy?

Students chosen for the program should need help reading or comprehending grade-level text or be at risk of falling behind.  Ideally, Reading Buddy volunteers would tutor students who don’t qualify for other reading intervention services but have been identified as needing help.  The student may also be identified for the program because they are in need of a positive adult role model.  A principal, counselor, or teacher may request a Reading Buddy for a student.

Why should the classroom teacher meet with the Reading Buddy prior to beginning tutoring sessions?

Teachers should meet with volunteers to identify student’s challenges, establish tutor day and time, share best method of communication and build trust and transparency.  This interaction creates cohesion and promotes success.

What materials will the Reading Buddy need from the student’s teacher?

Teachers are expected to send appropriate books for the student.  They may also send spelling words, sight words and literacy goals.  Volunteers are trained to engage students in fun activities that promote literacy.  These activities can be tailored to a student’s reading level and can incorporate emerging literacy skills.

How long is each Reading Buddy tutor session?

Sessions last 30 minutes and are designed to be short enough for teachers to fit into their class schedule without disruption but long enough to provide encouragement and kindle a love of literacy.

Where do the Reading Buddy and student meet?

Initially the Reading Buddy will need the teacher’s assistance in locating a place to meet with the student.  Teachers and volunteers can discuss the best location at the scheduled Meet and Greet.  Many Reading Buddies meet in a quiet corner of library or back of the classroom. Some meet in an empty lunch room or resource room.  Reading Buddies are not permitted to be alone in a closed room with a student.

Can a Reading Buddy tutor a student more than 30 minutes a week?

A Reading Buddy may tutor a student more than 30 minutes per week if (1) a student needs additional assistance and (2) their Reading Buddy is available for more than 30 minutes or is available to assist multiple days per week.

Can a Reading Buddy see more than one student?

A Reading Buddy must meet with assigned student for 30 minutes once per week.  A Reading Buddy may be assigned multiple students if their schedule permits.  Repetition and trust are key components of the program’s success so it is important the volunteer meet with the same student(s) weekly for at least 30 minutes each.

If the Reading Buddy’s student is absent, can they tutor another student?

If the Reading Buddy’s assigned student is absent please allow the Reading Buddy to tutor an alternate student.  The Reading Buddy has already set time aside and would love to be utilized.

What happens if the student moves away or the student’s reading improves to grade level?

If the Reading Buddy’s assigned student moves away or no longer requires reading assistance/mentor, school is asked to assign Reading Buddy another student who needs reading help or a mentor.

What do Reading Buddy volunteers do during field trips, school testing, or school closings?

Student’s teacher is expected to provide Reading Buddy volunteers with field trip, testing, or special event dates when student will not be available for tutoring.  Reading Buddy volunteer is expected to listen to local news stations for weather related school closings.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the program?

For questions about the Reading Buddy Program contact the Program Coordinator at 417-862-3586 ext. 230.