Kids Helping Kids

3, 4, 5

Through planning and implementing a reading Buddies Program, learners will recognize the importance of being actively involved in helping others in our school community

PrintFive to Six Forty-Five Minute Class Periods or Three Block Schedule Sessions

The learners will:

  • expand his/her knowledge of reading by constructing a Word Wall.
  • actively demonstrate principles of philanthropy.
  • apply effective techniques of mentoring through service learning.
  • develop fellowship with younger learners.
  • effectively engage in ongoing reflection through continued use of a Handout Two: Learning Log from Lesson One: Setting the Stage.
  • act as an effective mentor as demonstrated by positive feedback from participants.
  • evaluate the service activity through collecting surveys, tabulating and interpreting data.
  • Tag Board
  • Markers
  • Large bulletin board
  • Manila construction paper
  • Giraffe Profiles at
Home Connection 

Handout One: Letter to Parents


Philanthropy. The Giraffe Profiles.



  1. Instructor Notes: In advance of the reading buddies activity, secure a buddy relationship with a preschool, kindergarten or first grade class. Discuss expected outcomes with the teacher of the younger students. There will be affective and academic goals for the older and younger students. Use the district suggested reading list or refer to the state or Common Core academic standards for book titles or reading skills appropriate for the age level. Obtain copies of the books appropriate for the reading buddies. Send Handout One: Letter To Parents to the homes of your learners.

    Anticipatory Set: Read two or three stories from the Giraffe Profiles found at and discuss what it means to be an everyday hero. Ask students to share stories of people they know who are heroes to them. Talk about family members who behave as heroes. Distinguish between fame and heroism.

    Days One and Two: Getting Ready

  2. Ask learners what they think learning outcomes are. Explain how learning expectations are established by grade level, and that students within each grade level have varying levels of experience and strengths within the range of abilities. Raise awareness and sensitivity about students' varying strengths and needs. Help students recognize that there are different kinds of intelligence, different experiences, and different learning styles.

  3. Learners will role-play techniques on how to be an effective Reading Buddy.

  4. Use guidelines from your local literacy council. * See Handout Two: Guide for a Great Reading Buddy for sample guidelines. * Training and practice may take one to two class sessions, depending on age group.

  5. Pair your learners for a role-playing simulation. Give each pair Handout Three: My Buddy Book and have them read a book from the reading list. One learner takes the role of the younger reading buddy for half of the story, and then switch roles. Use the My Buddy Book handout as a guide to analyze the book during a post-reading discussion.

  6. Learners make flash cards for each letter of the alphabet and for the words they will be teaching the reading buddy.

  7. Words are to be placed on a Word Wall in the partner classroom.

  8. Have students record their reflections in the Learning Logs from Lesson One.

  9. Day Three

  10. Discuss the expectations for behavior and the process of the reading buddy time together with the younger students from another classroom.

  11. Confirm that all the logistics for visiting the other classroom are in place.

  12. Students make sure they know exactly what they are going to do when they meet their reading buddy in the next class session

  13. Day Four

  14. Students meet their Reading Buddies. As a get to know each other activity, have each pair share information about sports, games they like, books they have read, hobbies or other interests. Older students write information on the cards or a sheet of paper. The younger learners can draw a picture of themselves doing their favorite activity.

  15. Read and share the book with the Reading Buddy. Show the vocabulary cards as they get to those words. Have the Reading Buddy put those cards on the Word Wall after they finish the story.

  16. The Buddies fill out Handout Four: My Reading Buddy.

  17. Day Six

  18. Have learners tabulate the responses from Handout Four: My Reading Buddy and discuss the results. Ask learners to write answers to the following questions:

    • As a result of these responses give two reasons why you think Reading Buddies was a successful activity.
    • What do you think we can do better next time?
    • Celebration activity plan: Invite parents/guardians in to view Word Wall, share books they read to their Buddies, introduce their Buddy and give certificates of appreciation. This activity can take place at any time convenient to school schedule.

Learning Logs Handout Two: Guide For A Great Reading Buddy; Teacher observation; Learner participation; Evaluation of recipients of the service; Evaluate the two-question response, Day Six, #10.

Cross Curriculum 

Plan and participate in a Reading Buddies activity with Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten or First grade as school structure allows.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe how a volunteer youth club in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.4 Set a fund-raising goal and identify sources of private funds.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.