SHINE BOOK BUDDIES
The Shine Book Buddies model pairs older and younger children in schools together to enhance the reading skills of both. They meet two to three times a week for 15 minutes and do paired and shared reading – methodology also used in all Shine Centres during the Literacy Hour programme. Carefully selected readers (books) are offered in English and/or the mother tongue of the children. This simple, yet highly effective programme, can be facilitated by class teachers, and easily incorporated as a school-led initiative.
The Masikhulisane Book Buddies programme is a bi-lingual, cross-age reading for enjoyment programme which was inspired by Shine Literacy’s methodology. Working in partnership with Masikhulisane, five schools in the Eastern Cape are running this programme in 2018, with Shine Literacy serving as the overseeing partner. It emphasises the importance of developing a love of reading in children, using a bi-lingual approach to ensure that children have the opportunity to read stories in their home language and in their first additional language, and pairing children to read to each other thus drawing on the available resources of proficient readers in the school.
Recent research has highlighted the positive, yet unintended benefits that result from this type of initiative, namely: children from different age groups building friendships (which can benefit an entire community); older children having the opportunity to model good behaviour to younger children which can boost their self-esteem; and children are less likely to take part in bullying and they learn to work collaboratively (Boud, 2002; Developmental Studies Center, 1996; Topping et al., 2011; Juyonen & Graham, 2001).