Reading Buddies

Reading Buddies is a program that provides volunteer adults to listen to students from P-6 read at the child’s school. Volunteers listen to children read one-on-one on a regular basis in a local primary school.
Anyone can be a reading buddy. Age is no barrier. We welcome retirees, stay at home parents, working professionals and anybody who loves and values reading. We also encourage secondary college students to be reading buddies as part of school volunteering programs and also tertiary students who may use Reading Buddies as part of their studies in teaching or child care.
A Reading Buddy must have or be willing to obtain a Working With Children Check.
Volunteer reading buddies are given a brief one-hour induction that covers some basic tips and strategies for reading with a young person. It also covers some issues of confidentiality and contact details for volunteers wanting further support. A Working With Children check is required before a volunteer can become a Reading Buddy. Assistance can be provided to acquire this.
Most schools run Reading Buddies five days a week. Reading Buddies sessions will last for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Volunteers can come in for one morning a week or up to five mornings a week.

Which schools have a Reading Buddies program?
Many schools around the Wimmera and Southern Mallee have already established a Reading Buddies program. If you wish to volunteer at any of these schools, you would be able to commence almost immediately. If you wish to volunteer at a school that does not have a formal Reading Buddies, program, we can approach the school and offer to set up a program for you to volunteer at that school.

 Do I need any special qualifications or training to be a Reading Buddy?
The main ‘qualifications’ for being a reading buddy are that you be warm and friendly, have an interest in children and their learning, enjoy reading and have time to spare.
We can offer various levels of support and training, depending on how much experience you have had with working with young children.
If you have had limited experience in working with children, we can provide additional support and training and mentor you through the process of becoming a reading buddy.

What if am going to be away for several weeks or if I can’t get to the school every week for my reading buddies session?
That is fine. Every time you can get there is a bonus for the children. We would rather you be there sometimes than not at all. Just tell the school and the students with whom you read, when you will be away.

What do I do if I can’t make it to Reading Buddies on a particular day?
Simply phone or email the school as a matter of courtesy and let them know you can’t be there.

I work full-time during school hours so how could I be a reading buddy?
Some businesses allow their employees to work flexible hours to fit reading buddies into their day. This might mean taking a short lunch break for a couple of days a week or working an extra hour sometime during the week to make up for the hour that you spend with reading buddies.  Many businesses see Reading Buddies as a brilliant community initiative that fits in with their corporate volunteering programs. Check if your employer has such a policy.

Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN is committed to promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse. Everyone working at Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN is responsible for the care and protection of children and reporting information about child abuse.

Child protection is a shared responsibility between the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN, all employees, workers, contractors, associates, volunteers and members of the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN community.

All volunteers in Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN programs will be informed of their responsibilities and obligations regarding child safety during their training process.

For more information, download

pdficon_small  Reading Buddies Brochure (240KB)
pdficon_small  Reading Buddies Booklet (443KB)

Please fill out the details below.

MATES Reading Buddies Expression of Interest
You may select more than one option.
Reading Buddies programs operate in many schools across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee region.
Most schools run their Reading Buddies program in the morning.

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Principal, students and volunteers share their experience of Reading Buddies at Horsham Primary School (4:09 min)