The second session of Writing Buddies at Montgomery Elementary School in South Davis begins in early January. The program pairs adult volunteers one on one with third-graders to write stories.
Each week for five weeks, both volunteers and schoolchildren write a story inspired by picture books that teacher Marsha Raney reads to her class. A final party celebrates the publication of individual books of stories containing kids’ and volunteers’ writing.
In the previous session, volunteers found the weekly interaction with their buddy and with other volunteers to be energizing. One volunteer said her favorite part was “time with my buddy and getting to know a whole different group of people — adults and children. Also, I loved feeling that what I was doing was worthwhile.”
The volunteers often have no experience in a classroom. Co-director Tony Fanning says, “A volunteer doesn’t need to know how to teach writing in order to participate. We give the volunteers full instruction, which we call No-Anxiety Training. The volunteers quickly find out that writing together forges a two-way connection between a child and an adult buddy who cares. In fact, caring is the main requirement to be a volunteer.”
Fanning and his wife, Robbie, ran Writing Buddies in the Bay Area for several years before they retired to Davis. Both Fannings have a background in teaching, writing and literacy.
The next session runs from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m. Fridays, Jan. 10 to Feb. 7.
For information on volunteering to be a Writing Buddy, visit www.writingbuddies.org, email email@example.com or call 530-231-5388 before 9 p.m.