Applicant’s Name: Norine Leverton
School: Farr Elementary School
Project Title: Reading Buddies
Dollar Amount: $500
Subject Area: Library
Grant Type: Classroom Project
Grade Level: TK – 5th
Number of Classes That Participated: 27
Number of Students That Participated: 550
Phone Number: 760-735-3049 x35851

Evaluation Questions

1. What empirical evidence, if any, do you have to submit to evaluate your project?

The reading buddy character plushies have given students the opportunity to practice reading fluency while decreasing anxiety in reluctant or stressed readers. Not to mention they have added a bit of cuddly and creative fun to reading time and brought our story time read alouds to life! This project has been a great way to incorporate cutting edge social emotional learning practices into our library while also improving reading skills.

What observations have you recorded and reviewed as evidence your project was successful? Where do you think you could improve?

After purchasing the reading buddies in December I began by first displaying them in the library. Right away students’ eyes lit up as they noticed their favorite book characters when they walked in. I then started doing read alouds with the matching character plushies which the students also loved. After slowly introducing the new reading buddy plushies to the library I put them in a designated tub and went over expectations for using them with students. I let students know that the reading buddies are tools for reading practice not toys for playing with. So far students have been very responsible when using the reading buddies and I have noticed the calming effect they have on students while reading. I also encourage students to read aloud to their reading buddies in order to practice fluency and they also enjoy this aspect.

Next year I plan on introducing the reading buddies and expectations at the beginning of the school year. I think this will allow students to practice the routine of using them from the start which should help with the flow of our library time. Board members also expressed concerns about cleaning the plushies. So far I have been washing them in a washing machine but would love to find a sanitizing spray product that is approved for use by our district. I would also like to add more of the Squishmallow plushies to our collection as these have been great social emotional supports for students. Eventually I would also like to have more flexible seating options for students to use along with the plushies.

3. If you continue with this project next year, what would you do differently?

Next year I plan on continuing with this project. I am really happy with the way the reading buddies have created a positive, welcoming, and safe atmosphere for students. I love how they have provided social emotional support for students while also being used as a tool to practice reading fluency. Next year I plan on introducing the reading buddies and expectations from the beginning of the year so that students can begin practicing the routine of using them during reading time early on. I also plan on continuing to use them for read alouds next year.

4. Have you saved all receipts?

Yes, please see receipts attached.