Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority

Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority

Reading Buddies Program Helps to Improve Reading Scores

The Reading Buddies Program at areas schools, including Highland View Elementary and Washington & Lee Elementary School in Bristol, Virginia, has officially begun for the 2019-2020 school year!! This program provides enrichment, interaction and learning for our youngsters. If you, or someone you know, is interested in being a part of the “Reading Buddies” team (currently 13 of our BRHA staff participate), give Ms. Lynn a call at (276) 821-6270 or any of our Resident Services staff, Ms. Julie or Ms. Tracy, at (276) 821-6273. For more information, visit

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

Reading Buddies program seeking volunteers in Bristol

by Olivia Bailey ~ Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Highland View Elementary has more than a dozen volunteers working with students in the Reading Buddies program. (L. Owens, WCYB)

BRISTOL, Va. — A program working to help young students in Bristol needs help from the community.

The Reading Buddies program was started in Bristol, Virginia and Tennessee schools six years ago.

The program uses community volunteers who work with students in kindergarten through second grade to read a half-hour each week.

School staff members say 80 to 85-percent of students in the program improve reading scores each year.

“They read books on their level. They do skill-related games. They draw pictures. They have conversation, talk about their weekend, really it’s just more about building a relationship and having that extra support system here at school,” reading specialist Sara DeBusk said.

How It Works:

Volunteers are partnered with a student/buddy and meet with their buddy on a weekly basis for just 30 minutes at a time. Volunteers are welcome to sign-up as a Reading Buddy for more than one student.

Volunteers monitor and assist by reading to the student, listening to the student read, encouraging the student, and attending the student’s school activities when possible.

As much as supporting critical reading skills, volunteers help their buddies by establishing a positive relationship with them.

The program is currently active in Highland View and Van Pelt elementary schools and in Bristol, Tennessee elemtary schools.

Right now, about 15 volunteers work with 40 children at Highland View Elementary.

Interested volunteers can sign up here.