Book Buddies is an initiative of San Antonio Youth Literacy, an organization founded in 1984 to provide one-on-one reading assistance to elementary school children through the Reading Buddies program. They attempt to increase the number of children reading at grade level while fostering their enjoyment of reading.

SAYL is committed to reducing functional illiteracy among the youth of San Antonio and seeing that every child in South Texas enters 3rd grade reading at level. Reading Buddies provides one-to-one reading assistance to elementary children in 65 schools across San Antonio. Volunteers tutor children who struggle with basic reading and comprehension skills.

Book Buddies collects books suitable for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade and distributes them at the end of the school year in free book fairs at their Reading Buddy Schools.

Children choose books to take home to read over the summer, which helps prevent the “summer slide” — a regression in learning over summer vacation when they are not being actively taught. Studies also show that children who grow up in homes without books, and who are not read to as children, are far more likely to fall behind in school, fail to complete high school, and suffer the unfortunate outcomes associated with failure: drug use, criminal behavior, early pregnancy, etc.

The Reading Buddy program exists in San Antonio Title 1 schools where at least 75% of the families are below the poverty line. Children at these schools attend the free book fairs at the end of the school year and take the books home and keep them as their own. They can read them over the summer, share them with family and friends, or even their parents. In many cases these donated books are the only books in the home. An added benefit is that children in more advantaged homes learn to share their no longer needed books with another child.

May Nerd Night is holding a book drive to collect books for this year’s fairs. Bring your new or gently used books to Geeks Café on May 13th!

Types of Books Needed

Picture Books (Example: Where the Wild Things Are)
I Can Read series
Children’s chapter books
Any book appropriate up to a 6th grade level

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