Reading Buddies expands to Hazel and Redwood

WEST ORANGE, NJ — RSVP Center of Essex and Hudson Counties is expanding its Reading Buddies program, which connects volunteers age 55 and older with elementary school students in Essex County. The program is spreading to Hazel and Redwood elementary schools in West Orange.

“We are delighted to be welcoming the Reading Buddies program to Redwood for the 2019-20 school year,” Redwood Principal Tim Beaumont said. “Student literacy is at the heart of all we do at Redwood, and the Reading Buddies program will augment the existing work we do in this area. Once a week, trained volunteers will be working with students in our three youngest grade levels to deepen their enthusiasm for reading. We are looking forward to building on the existing success of this program at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School.”

Reading Buddies introduces the love of books and increases literacy in young children. Early literacy is linked with academic achievement, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life.

“Reading Buddies is a unique program that connects children and volunteers through books,” RSVP program manager Julie Cramer said. “The older adults read to the children every week throughout the school year, forming a warm relationship based on the love of reading.” According to Cramer, the program has shown to be effective in helping to increase literacy, reading comprehension and vocabulary in children grades K-2.

Reading Buddies is actively seeking volunteers interested in spending one hour per week reading books to elementary school students at locations in West Orange, South Orange or Orange. If you are 55 or older and interested in learning more about becoming a Reading Buddies volunteer, contact Cramer at 973-637-1761 or