Librarian Tal Wieczorek is the new co-ordinator of Reading Buddies and will be leading the Chilliwack Library’s new Man in the Moon story time for male caregivers and their children. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

The Chilliwack Library is looking for some little kids, big kids and dads for two programs launching this fall.

Both the annual Reading Buddies program and their brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month.

The first is a literacy program which pairs “little buddies” with “big buddies” for one hour every week at the Chilliwack and Yarrow libraries throughout the school year.

“I am really excited to be the new co-ordinator for Reading Buddies,” says librarian Tal Wieczorek, who just joined the Chilliwack Library last month. “I think turning kids into readers is important for lifelong learning, and the habits you form when you’re young can set you up for success.”

“The program is definitely based towards struggling readers” in Grades 1 to 4, he adds.

When people sign up, they must do a criminal record check at no charge. Wieczorek will do an orientation when buddies meet for the first time. There are literacy games and resources they can use, plus they’re given some tips and tricks.

High school students and adult volunteers are paired with the same child for the entirety of the school year. Meeting once a week is encouraged, but buddies can meet more frequently if they’d like to.

“It’s a social thing as well,” adds Andrea Jones, library services assistant. “I notice through the summer [when the program has ended] sometimes we’ll see the reading buddies and they choose to keep meeting up at the library and keep that momentum going.”

The little buddies “seem quite enthusiastic about it and I think they form quite an attachment to their big buddies and often try and request the same ones year after year,” she adds.

Those wanting to be big buddies must be 15 year of age or older (Grades 10 to 12, or adults). Students will earn volunteer hours for graduation requirements.

“We don’t often get as many big buddies as we need, so we’re really encouraging people, particularly teenagers, to pitch in,” says Jones.

To sign up as a big buddy or little buddy, call or visit the Chilliwack Library at 604-792-1941 or the Yarrow Library at 604-823-4664.

As the only male librarian at the Chilliwack Library, Wieczorek will also be leading a brand-new program called Man in the Moon. This is a drop-in story time for male caregivers and their children.

It began at a few other Fraser Valley Regional Library branches, and Wieczorek and Jones are excited to be able to offer it in Chilliwack.

“Most story times are moms and their kids and we want to encourage men — dads, uncles, grandfathers,” says Wieczorek. “It gives them an opportunity to connect with their little ones. I think it’s a great idea.”

Men sometimes feel uncomfortable being the only male caregiver during a particular library story time, he adds.

Library staff see a lot of dads come into the library on weekends with their kids, which is why they’ve chosen to offer Man in the Moon on Saturdays.

“I really want to make it fun. I’m going to bring my guitar, play some songs, read some books,” says Wieczorek.

He already has a big stack of books all about dads picked out that will be on display and available to check-out on the first day of the program.

Man in the Moon is a drop-in story time from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is for children of all ages and their male caregivers. The dates are Saturdays, Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Nov. 30 at the Chilliwack Library.



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