Reading Buddies: Encouraging and Supporting Children’s Reading Development
Fourth grade is the pivotal point in a child’s reading development when they transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. Statistics show that a student who struggles with reading by the start of 4th grade is four times more likely to drop out of high school, so reading to children early, increasing access to educational materials and learning opportunities, and providing support from the community can help empower youth and move the needle on grade-level reading.
Through our global community involvement partner, the United Way, and our signature Dedication to Education volunteer program, we were able to engage more than 700 Pitney Bowes volunteers across 23 teams in North America in packing 1,735 Reading Buddies Kits. The kits consisted of a teddy bear stuffed by volunteers coupled with a children’s book, a thoughtfully decorated bookmark, reading tips, and a handwritten note of encouragement for students in the community.
The intention of the Reading Buddies project is to encourage children to read aloud, which is a great technique to improve fluency and reading skills; however, not all children feel comfortable reading in front of other people. A stuffed animal reading buddy can help by allowing a child to practice reading without the added performance anxiety.
Thank you to our partners at United Way for helping us make a difference. Since 1955, United Way has played an invaluable role in our volunteer and giving programs. Our interests are aligned with United Way’s mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good of community, education, and literacy. United Way’s deep expertise, global presence, and understanding of critical community needs provide a substantial boost to the effectiveness of our giving, advocacy, and volunteering.