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.
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).
In 2012, Shine introduced a Book Buddies pilot programme at Zenzeleni Waldorf School in Khayelitsha. The school’s Pedagogical Mentor, Belinda Fellion (2014:1), states that, “it [is] clear that the children presently in Class Six who were in Class Four when the reading buddies’ programme began, have made remarkable improvements in their reading levels, well noted by the Federation assessor.” She also noted that positive unintended benefits of the Shine Book Buddies programme were evident, particularly as children came to know their ‘book buddies’. Interest was piqued. Children were now seen reading at break time, some in groups, others happy to read by themselves.
With the success of this pilot, Shine has started two more projects in KZN and the Western Cape.
” . . . enthusiasm, the life blood of learning for children has clearly been enkindled through [this] programme” (Fellion, 2014:2).