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KFPL’s Reading Buddies program now includes seniors

Reading Buddies for Seniors is available in 30 minute or 60 minute options. Image via KFPL.

The popular Readuing Buddies program, available through the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL), 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, according to a release from KFPL.

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.

The library welcomes participants 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, the library recommends 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 the library can set you up with an online membership so you can attend online library programs and enjoy digital resources. Visit the KFPL website for more information, or call your local branch.

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