RBS Testimonials

Buddies Turn A Bad Day Around

“When I went onto the bus, the first thing in my mind was meeting my buddy Jacob and finishing the frog story we read together last time. When our group arrived at the school, we went into the class and everyone was directed to see their own buddy. I soon realized that my buddy was not there.

I thought he was sick at first, but it turned out he was outside. A teacher walked with me to see him. I asked why Jacob was outside and the teacher told me that he had gotten into a fight. When we walked out the door I saw my buddy sitting on the stairs, looking very sad. At that time I really wanted to do something to cheer him up, but I couldn’t think of anything, so I decided to talk to him. I started with the usual “hi, how are you doing?” talk and then I remembered that I had my magic tricks with me.

I said to Jacob, “Do you want to see a magic trick?” I pulled a handkerchief out of my pocket and did the disappearing handkerchief trick. He started laughing! After that, I pulled a coin out of my pocket and told him to guess which hand the coin was in. I would flip the coin from hand to hand trying to trick him. He would choose one hand, then I would flip it to the other, making him laugh. The teacher then took us to a special room with toys and games. Together we decided to play soccer so we set up nets and had a mini soccer game! I was the goalie and one time, I jumped over the ball and Jacob scored! He was so happy and we were both having a great time.

Around five minutes later, we went back to the classroom and I read him a story about a dragon that played with kids. It was then time to leave so I said good-bye to my buddy. As I was leaving the school I felt really happy. Not because I was praised by the teachers for helping him, but because of the big smile he had on his face.”

Thank You from Two Kindergarten Teachers

“It was so great to see how delighted my students were to read with and spend time with their buddies. The smiles on my students’ faces when their received their books and gifts was so heartwarming. I cannot express my gratitude enough to the parents who made this all possible. I think it is great that we are encouraging literacy at such a young age.”

“I realized last year that the two visits made a great impact on the students in my class. A couple of my most at risk learners were more excited to pick up a book and to look at it. This non preferred activity became a willingness to try. One student wanted to read like my her big buddy.

Another student in my class had been very transient throughout the year. She had missed school a month or two at a time. In May, she came back to school after being away for two months. All of the trust toward being at school and her friendships she had built in the past had disappeared. She became very shy and would not talk in class. On the first visit I let Heather know that most likely she would have a hard time relating to her big buddy. In fact this was not the case! She was willing to read with her buddy. I saw her smiling throughout the two visits.”



It’s about the Stories and the Laughter

“My Kindergarten/Grade 1 class at Queen Alexandra Elementary was fortunate to be paired with a Grade 5 class from York House School through the Reading Bear again this year. The anticipation before each visit was so fun to watch, as my students talked for days, and sometimes weeks, about seeing their buddies again and what books they would read together during their next visit. One of my Kindergarten girls,Lisa, was particularly excited about seeing her two buddies each time. Her mom told me Lisa always had trouble sleeping the night before a visit because she just couldn’t wait to see her buddies! I loved watching Lisa interacting with her reading buddies. As they took turns reading to her, she would turn and listen to each one with an intense focus. After one visit, she was a bit teary and I asked her if she was okay. She said, “I just love them so much.” And she did. Our visits with our York House buddies were always full of stories, smiles, and laughter. What a gift for a teacher to see her students so engaged and excited about reading! Thank you Reading Bear and York House for another year full of delight, wonder, and friendship!”

A Mother and Her Daughter Talk about the Impact of the Reading Bear

Learning Patience, Empathy, and Confidence

My Grade 5 class has seen considerable benefits from participation in the Reading Bear program this year. In building relationships with their kindergarten buddies, my students have really grown in terms of character development. Reading and interacting with their buddies taught them patience and empathy, and allowed them to develop their leadership skills.

The students loved presenting their Kindergarten students with a new book each time we visited. It was cl ear that many of the little buddies didn’t have a lot of experience with books at home, so they were delighted to receive new books that they could call their own. My students loved reading the new books to their buddies. While they probably didn’t realize it, the Grade 5s actually improved their reading skills (fluency, confidence, etc.) by having a captive audience for their read-alouds. It was incredibly heartwarming to watch my students act as nurturing mentors with their Reading Bear buddies. The smile s and laughter of the Kindergarten kids made it clear that they were happy connecting with my students this year too. The program was a great experience for my class. The social and emotional benefits will be long lasting, I’m sure.

A Principal’s Reflections

Dear RBS Ambassadors,

Thank you so much for your hard work and support for the Reading Bear Project this term. I hope you have had a positive and productive term. We have all certainly benefited from your involvement in this program.

What a delight it was to have the program at Graham Bruce Elementary start in November. As Victoria and Katrina witnessed, the K/1 children thoroughly enjoyed the “kick off” with bear stories, all the stuffed bears, the paw prints and the bear mitts.

It was such a neat experience for me to see one of the K’s who had been sad and crying almost every day for over a month, actually smile as she hugged the stuffed bears and tried on the bear mittens. It was the FIRST time I had seen her smile.

Our first big buddy visit from Grade 8 St. George’s boys was a big success as well. I am not sure who were happier, the kids or the teachers. Everyone seems to be embracing the opportunity. It’s so much fun to witness the big buddies engaged – down on the carpet or sitting in little chairs reading to their buddies. Our buddies brought books to give their elementary buddies on their first visit which, of course, was a huge hit.

Last week, I had the joy of seeing one of our new K’s sit with his classroom bear on his lap and “read” the bear three books. From the perspective of an educator, it was a beautiful thing.

Lani Morden
Principal of Graham Bruce School

The Best Christmas Present a Mom Could Get

I became involved with the Reading Bear Society when my son was in grade 11. He came home one day very excited and handed me 10 packages of Reading Bear Christmas cards. They were drawn by little children he said and the money raised from the sale of the cards went towards helping promote literacy for little kids who may not even have books at home.

I was curious and reached for my wallet to give him money to support yet another “school project” but he told me that he had used his Christmas budget to buy all of us these cards, so he didn’t want money from me. He explained that he bought the cards because the money would go much further when donated to a cause that promotes the love of reading and learning through books.

As a mum, it was the best Christmas present that I received that year, knowing that my son could discern what was truly meaningful and expressive of the season, the act of giving back.

I believe that the “givers” (the older students) gain much more than they bargain for as I witness the delight on their faces when they are reading to the little ones. It is truly a win-win situation and one that I endorse wholeheartedly.

I believe that in supporting programs such as RBS we are giving back to our community and modelling the values that we want to pass to our children.

Once a Teacher now a Medical Student

My time with the Reading Bear Society has proved to be a worthwhile continuation of my years spent as an educator. Prior to my acceptance to medical school at UBC, I spent some years as a high school science teacher in the Surrey School District. My time with adolescents taught me the importance of good education and more importantly good educators. During my transition into life as a medical student, I was fortunate enough to find the Reading Bear Society and instantly connected with its goals and purpose. Over the past two years, I have done my very best to try to integrate my knowledge as an educator as well as learn from those who make this organization so great. I have grown to understand not only the impact the Reading Bear Society has in our elementary schools but also the power of mentorship for our older middle and high school students. From observing Peer Reading sessions early in my first year to designing and delivering teacher and student orientations this past fall, I have been truly fortunate to influence multiple levels of our operation. This past year has seen me focus more on resources for the website and less on the day-to-day interaction with teachers and students”. My time will become increasingly more scarce as I enter clerkship but I plan to continue work on the council as Chair of Students for the upcoming school year. I would like to thank each and every one who has made my time at the Reading Bear Society so inspiring and will always strive to ensure that I can continue to impact the organization and students well after I have graduated.
Best regards,
Paul Abraham