Budding Readers

The Westlake Girls High School and Milford Primary School Buddy Reading Programme

Milford Primary School Library has been a hive of activity every Thursday morning with busy bee buddy readers. It was an early morning start for the Westlake Girls’ High School and Milford Primary School students meeting to read before their classes started. The initiative spanned fifteen weeks of Terms 2 and 3. Forty-five Westlake students from Years 10-13 were paired with buddies from Years 1-5 from Milford Primary School. The older students’ job was to transfer their love of reading to their buddies. They helped them search for books, listened to them read, and modelled reading for them.

The programme, set up by Michelle Clarke from Milford Primary and Claire Gilbert from Westlake Girls’, aims to foster enthusiasm for reading, facilitate reading skills, and create community spirit.

Heart-warming relationships have grown between participants, and several students have voiced an interest in Primary School Teaching and Child Psychology.

The programme has been highly successful, with noticeable improvement in the children’s reading confidence and ability. Their parents noticed an increase in their child’s willingness to read and in their child’s reading ability. One parent said her child had difficulty sleeping the night before the reading sessions, as she was so excited to see her Westlake buddy again in the morning!

Our Westlake students have shown outstanding commitment to this community programme. They have battled cold and often rainy winter mornings to turn up. Even when their year levels were rostered home, they turned up in full uniform to read to their buddies.


The programme ended with a final buddy reading breakfast with hot chocolate and goodies from Baker’s Delight. The Milford students received certificates from their Westlake mentors. In turn, the younger children presented thank-you cards to the Westlake students. It was a festival of cuteness as they farewelled each other until next year when the programme will run again.

Claire Gilbert