Reading Buddies for Independent Reading

Hi All!

I hope you’ve been enjoying as beautiful weather as we have in NJ. On our after dinner walk yesterday, I looked at my husband and said “Can’t it always be this nice?” and of course, the answer is “Only if we move to Florida!”. Anywho, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts…

Today I want to share one of my favorite special treats for when students start to get bored at the end of the year. As I’ve mentioned before, I started The Daily 5 in my classroom this year, and I absolutely LOVE it. However, we still read a story from our basal reader as a class each week to work on different skills as a whole class.

Now, I think spending the past few years in First Grade has given me the attention span of a first grader. I cannot read the same story every day for a week the same way without losing my mind, so we would mix it up every day.

Our schedule normally looked something like this.

Monday-Echo Read (I read, they read)
Tuesday- Popcorn Read (each student reads one word- so fun and keeps them on their toes)
Wednesday- Partner Read
Thursday- Star Read (basically round robin, and I pull sticks, but I call it Star Reading so they feel special when it’s their turn)
Friday- Independent Reading

My students really enjoy the variety of always changing it up, but closer to the end of the year, they started to get bored. I would then pull out one of my very favorite ways for students to read: Reading Buddies!

Reading Buddies 6

Now, this is not partner reading. It’s when they get to choose a stuffed buddy from my Reading Buddies bucket and they get to read to it.

Reading Buddies2

Can I tell you, without fail, this is always my students FAVORITE way to read.

 We have a few rules of course.

1. You’re reading, not playing.
2. Your buddy can sit next to you, on your lap, or in front of you.
3. You read the whole time.

Reading Buddies

I honestly have never had any problem with students during this time. They take their task of reading to their buddy very seriously. My favorite is when they put their buddy in front of them, read a page, and then hold up the pictures to their stuffed animal. It’s priceless! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of that.

Click the picture below to download your free Reading Buddies sign.

Reading Buddies Sign

Have a great rest of the week!

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Martha from Primary Paradise


Primary Paradise

Primary Paradise

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing with others and look forward to sharing my ideas with you!


  • Cyndie
    April 18, 2013 8:21 am

    We do this! One day I walked into Walgreens and they had Beanie Babies for $1! I bought all they had. I paired them up with books related to them (i.e., the frog Beanie Baby with a couple of fiction and non-fiction frog books) and sent them home in take-home bags. The kids LOVE them!

  • Les
    April 18, 2013 12:25 pm

    That is the sweetest idea ever!

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      April 19, 2013 6:01 am

      Thanks! It really is so much fun, and they really focus on making sure their buddies “get” the story since I tell them that their buddies have never read this story before, so they need to read clearly and with expression. 😉

  • Carol-Ann Roaf
    April 18, 2013 1:10 pm

    I love this idea too. I have a whole lot of Beanie Babies and thought “Hey, this would be a great way to put them to good use” Thanks Cyndie and Martha!! I also like the different ways you read in your classroom. I, too, have a basal reader that I must cover and it does get boring.

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      April 19, 2013 6:00 am

      Beanie Babies would be perfect! I’m telling you, being in first grade has totally given me first grade brain, and I just have to change things up or I get B.O.R.E.D. haha I’m so glad you enjoyed this! If you try it out, please let me know how it goes!

  • First Grade Hugs and High Fives
    April 19, 2013 10:06 pm

    Hi, I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a few months and I just now discovered that we’re fellow Jersey girls! I have used reading buddies in past years but I did abandon them for this year because I had a parent accuse me of humiliating his son by “Making him read to a stuffed animal.” I couldn’t believe it! Especially since the boy had a choice of partner reading or reading to the stuffed animal… ugh! Sometimes you just can’t win! I hope no one else ever has to experience that horrible experience.
    First Grade Hugs and High Fives

    • Primary Paradise
      Primary Paradise
      April 20, 2013 7:44 am

      Hey! Go jersey girls!! :)Seriously? That is So ridiculous. I guess you can’t please everyone, right? Thanks for stopping buy and commenting!

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