An SSU student portrayed the essence of Book Buddies as, "Children are the future and their future is education. You can tell that these kids are eager to be creative. It opens their eyes to take more time and be more invested in the community." Book Buddies is a service-learning project between SSU students and elementary school students that encourages literacy and exposes them to a college campus at a young age. Students from Dr. Jessica Hobson's PSY 302 Lifespan Development class participated in this event and applied what they have learned throughout the semester to their experience interacting with the kids.
Related: Book Buddies IV
The day started with SSU students helping their buddies read their books with juice and a snack. One student shared, "My buddy was 8 years old and I was really surprised by her ability to read big words. I was really impressed!" Reading was followed up by giving the kids an opportunity to use their own imagination and write their own story with their buddy. One third grader wrote a story about colors which was really interesting to me and helped me remember how creative kids can be! Laurie Cameron interacted with the children by storytelling to end the the day. They all seemed to be really engaged with Laurie.
An essential part of Book Buddies is the guided reflection for Professor Hobson's students. This enables them to create connections from the classroom to real life. The students engaged in conversation by first discussing how this has related to what they have been doing in class. One student connected her experience to Social Learning Theory, "I could tell my buddy wasn't interested in reading but once his friend got a book, he started to read, too." To end their debriefing, they talked about why Book Buddies is an important way to give back to the community and came to the conclusion that partaking in service-learning events for children impacts them and their choices within education, "My buddy said... this is college?! It's really important to have these events because it makes a difference in who they become." This student grasped the significance of Book Buddies.
As a first timer for this event, I had a very positive experience watching the kids read and bond with their buddies. Exposing kids at a young age to a college campus is a great way to advocate for education and I'm glad that I was able to witness the beginning of our future.