Intergenerational reading buddies brings booklovers together

Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s popular Reading Buddies program is expanding to serve more people in our  communities. Previously, teen volunteers nurtured kids’ literacy skills through in-person, one-on-one reading  support and literacy activities. Since the program moved online last year for health and safety, the library is  working to reach a wider audience, expanding this summer’s program to include seniors and newcomer youth.

In the Reading Buddies for Seniors program, teen volunteers and library staff will read excerpts from longer  works of fiction or nonfiction to groups of seniors over Zoom. 

“Many adults enjoy audiobooks, but (just like kids!) adults find that there's something special about having  someone read to you in person,” shared Anne Hall, Programming and Outreach Librarian. “It lets you enjoy not  just a story but the company you're in. And, hearing stories read aloud can even be good for you! Meghan Cox  Gurdon, author of The Enchanted Hour: the Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction observes that when adults listen to live readers, ‘Stress hormones are decreased and bonding hormones  increase.’” 

Participants have the choice of two different weekly series, both running Friday afternoons for six weeks, from  July 23 through August 27. One is a half-hour session from 2 until 2:30 p.m. and the other is an hour-long session from 3 until 4 p.m. Hall anticipates the shorter session will best suit seniors in long-term care homes attending  as a group, while the hour-long session may appeal to individuals, couples, or friends in retirement homes or in  the community. Both programs are open to any and all seniors, she noted. 

Participants are welcome to stay online after the readings for a brief conversation about what has been read. 

To enjoy Reading Buddies, registrants will need a device with a stable internet connection. While a webcam and  microphone are helpful, they are not necessary. For those new to online programming we recommend that  registrants arrange for assistance from someone familiar with Zoom. Registrants will need to download the  latest version of Zoom in advance, and will also need to provide an email address to receive the Zoom link. 

Registration requires a KFPL membership. If you don’t already have one we can set you up with an online  membership so you can attend online library programs and enjoy digital resources! For more information, visit or call your local branch.