Family Services - Youth Behavioral Health & Adult Disabilities - Gallagher & Villa programs

Ongoing - Behavioral Health - Working with Youth - [VIRTUAL OPTION] Book Buddies - a virtual reading partnership with children

Reading aloud to children has been determined to be “the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading.” [citation] That’s compelling at Villa Maria School, where children are largely working below grade level in reading -- sometimes by multiple grades. Besides academics, VMS school children are addressing emotional and behavioral challenges that keep them from participating in general education settings, therefore the psychological and relational payoffs of listening to stories are also a boon to treatment.

During the pandemic, reading partners or “Book Buddies” will enhance remote learning for children by reading stories aloud and encouraging the child to read aloud. Teachers will be starting the school year in a virtual setting, meeting with whole-class and small groups for lessons. During the school day, volunteers will join a student in the virtual setting to share a story by reading aloud, encouraging the student to read, and discussing the story.

Volunteer candidates must be positive, patient, flexible, and adept at appreciating “What’s strong” instead of “What’s wrong.” We are seeking individuals who are tech-competent, comfortable using Zoom & Google Meets, expressive, and possess clear diction – qualities that will be essential when engaging children through a virtual platform.


Commitment: 45 minutes, once or twice a week for at least 8 weeks.

Pre-Service Training (orientation for all new volunteers): September 8, 2020; 6-8PM via Zoom

Remote Book Buddy Training: October 2020 via Zoom

To apply, please click where prompted "I would like to volunteer." Background checks will be required.

Qualifications Required

  • Interview Must be Interview complete
  • Policy forms Must be at least Completed
  • Pre-Service Training (2 hr. training) Must be at least Completed PST
  • Reference check Must be at least 2 clear
  • Verified Volunteers criminal background check Must be Clear

Schedule Summary

This activity occurs between Monday, September 14, 2020 and Monday, November 16, 2020

  • Monday - Morning, Afternoon
  • Tuesday - Morning, Afternoon
  • Wednesday - Morning, Afternoon
  • Thursday - Morning, Afternoon
  • Friday - Morning, Afternoon