Book Buddies Comes to Whitewater!

BOOK BUDDIES, a fun literacy program designed for children in our community, begins on Monday September 20 and runs through Dec. 6.   Book Buddies will meet after school from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at First English Lutheran Church, 401 W. Main Street. 

Barb Penington and Karil Bilgen, co-directors of Book Buddies, have based the program on similar ones offered by the United Way and AARP.   The purpose of Book Buddies is to give caring volunteers an opportunity to support parents and teachers in their efforts to foster a deeper love of reading in children and improve their reading skills.  We know that good readers tend to have higher self esteem, fare better in school, and become knowledgeable citizens.  As William Godwin more simply puts it, “Those who love reading have everything within their reach.”

There are two exciting options of Whitewater’s new Book Buddies program available:

“Preschool Pals” offers children ages 3 and 4 an opportunity to hear stories rooted in themes of inclusion, empathy, and kindness that are supported with movement and craft activities.

“Reading Buddies” pairs beginning readers (Kindergarten through Grade 3) with an adult or big buddy.  The big buddies listen to their young partners read books the children have chosen from the Book Buddies collection.  Big buddies help their partners sound out words, learn vocabulary, and have fun discussing the books, their characters, and themes. 

These Book Buddies programs are FREE and open to any child in the community.  ESL learners are especially invited to participate.  Snacks are provided, and all participants receive a complimentary book bag filled with a new book and other “goodies!”

For more information or to register a child for the program, visit the First English Lutheran Church website ( or contact Barb Penington or Karil Bilgen at  A Spanish translation link is available on the website.

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