Fuzzy friends can serve as pals on path to reading

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Community News

Published on October 05, 2016 with No Comments

Reading Buddies wait to be selected by students.

It is the hope of educators that a hug can be the launch of a love of reading.

Recently, the latest group of Reading Buddies was delivered to 160 first- and second-grade classrooms in Lake and Porter counties. More than 3,700 stuffed animals were distributed to students as part of the regional literacy program.

Children are encouraged to read to the furry friend 15 minutes a day as a way to sharpen skills and cultivate a love for reading. Studies show that reading out loud to a “friend” can increase oral fluency.

Guidance counselors also keep some animals on hand for use as counseling tools.

Community members can help the program year-round. The supply of new stuffed animals needs to be replenished for next year’s delivery.

You can host a drive along with your company, church or organization, plan to volunteer next year to help prepare the friends for delivery or make a monetary donation as $5 equals one new reading buddy.

The United Way Reading Buddies program is a joint partnership between United Way of Porter County and Lake Area United Way. It was developed in 2003 by the United Way Regional Volunteer Center along with volunteer ambassadors and the Valparaiso University softball team. The program is now sponsored by the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group.

For more information, visit www.unitedwaypc.org.

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About Bruce Lindner

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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