What is Book Buddies?
Book Buddies is a volunteer program that pairs lawyers with classrooms at Hampton Elementary (pre-K through second grade) to read aloud to the class for thirty minutes to an hour. You’ll work with one classroom during the school year. At the end of the year, we also provide a book for each kid in each classroom that we serve.
I’m really busy, so how much time will it take?
However much time you want it to take. Once you’re paired with a classroom, you work with the teacher to schedule mutually agreeable reading times. You don’t have to follow a particular schedule. All you do is e-mail the teacher to set up a reading session, schedule it for whenever is best for you and the teacher, and go read. A few weeks later, schedule another session. This flexibility works really well with attorneys’ schedules. How long you’ll read during each session is up to you and the teacher. You’ll probably end up reading two or three books each time you visit the class. Hampton Elementary is about eight minutes from downtown Greensboro, so all in you are looking at a maximum time commitment of an hour and a half for each visit—and it’s often less than an hour.
Books—what do you mean? What if I don’t have kids’ books readily available?
You might have books at home that you can read to your class. Illustrated books are best. If you don’t have suitable books at home, Hampton’s library has an “honor-system shelf” where you can get books to read and return before leaving. You can also buy books or check them out from the public library. We’re also working with Hampton to establish a means for us to check out any book from Hampton’s library. Also, most of the teachers have a decent collection of books in their classrooms, and you can probably rely on those in a pinch.
Why is this program so important?
Hampton needs us! In 2014, Hampton was identified as a “turnaround school” by the Guilford County School System due to its low test scores. Hampton, the Guilford County School System, and volunteers are working hard to improve the school, and we can be part of the solution. From what we’ve seen so far, the kids and teachers love the Book Buddies program. The kids love hearing the books read aloud, and they love to ask questions about being a lawyer. The teachers love it because it gives them some time to take a breath and catch up on paperwork. As for you, you’ll probably find that it’s really fun and makes for a nice midday break from lawyering.