Virtual Reading Buddies Resources

For school year 2023-24, our Reading Buddies program is transitioning to a virtual platform to make volunteering safe and convenient! Volunteering online is easy. For more information or to volunteer, contact Ashley Winslow by email or (570) 270-9109.

Session Date & Time Information

Reading Buddies will operate once per week for an hour over the course of the school year—from October to April.


9:45 – 10:45AM


9:45 – 10:45AM


9:30 – 10:30AM

Reading Buddies Training Videos

To illustrate what a session with a student will look like, we created this brief (1 min. 30 sec) video to show the basic components of the program in action. Check out the video below to see a demonstration of the NEW Reading Buddies “Virtual Edition.”

We have also created a step-by-step training video to demonstrate each of the virtual session components, as well as review what specifically is needed in order to participate in Virtual Reading Buddies. Access with passcode: h@=sp7xh

Watch Reading Buddies Training Video

Virtual Program Components

The program will involve working with two first grade students each week through sight word recognition, reading and discussing that week’s assigned book together, and playing an educational literacy game at the end of the session. Each session is 30 minutes with one student and there are two sessions in the hour.

Attached is an agenda which will be useful to track the timing of the session.

View Session Agenda

Below we will review all of the specific components needed for the program.

Zoom Information

For each of the Reading Buddies sessions, we will use the Zoom Video Conferencing platform. Once you have officially joined as a volunteer, Ashley Winslow will send you a Zoom link with a meeting ID and passcode to join the weekly sessions. If you have not received a Zoom link or need one to be re-sent, please reach out to Ashley for assistance.

Once entered into the meeting, the volunteer and student will be separated into a breakout room where the volunteer will share the session components as well as that week’s book. Please ensure you are familiar with how to share your screen on Zoom prior to your first session.

Ashley will be monitoring the sessions throughout the allotted time both virtually in the breakout rooms as well as in person with the students. Volunteers will be notified when there are five minutes remaining and everyone will come back together for the end of the session. As a reminder, there are two sessions back to back so there may be a slight wait time while switching out the students between sessions.

If you have any questions about the Zoom technology, please reach out to Ashley for assistance or to schedule a practice session ahead of your first day.

Icebreaker Activities (2 minutes)

The icebreaker activity should take about 2 minutes at the beginning of each session. For the icebreaker activities, we have two different PDFs that offer fun questioning to help provide a weekly opportunity to get to know your Reading Buddy. You can choose a few questions each week from either the “Would You Rather” document or from the “All About Me” document.

View Would You Rather ActivityView All About Me Activity

Alphabet and Sight Word Recognition (5 minutes)

An important part of our Reading Buddies experience is working to increase vocabulary and listening skills. We do this through practice and repetition using appropriate literacy tools such as charts and flash cards for the alphabet or for early sight words. This component should last about five minutes.

We have three separate documents to use and your choice should be based on the individual student’s reading ability.

  • For Beginning Readers who may have difficulty recognizing early sight words, we have an Alphabet Chart with corresponding flash cards.
  • For Emergent Readers who may have mastered the alphabet but are still unable to identify more challenging sight words, we have a Sight Words chart and flash cards.
  • And for Transitional Readers who are able to identify the letters and words on the previous two charts, we have a slightly more challenging Sight Words chart and corresponding flash cards.

BookFLIX Information for Book Reading (20 minutes)

Through the Luzerne County Library System, we use BookFLIX as an online literacy platform to share books virtually with the students. A Luzerne County Library Card (which can be obtained for free) is all that is needed by a volunteer to access this program.

BookFLIX is an online literacy resource that offers nonfiction eBooks from Scholastic to build a love of reading and learning.  This engaging resource for will help early readers develop and practice essential reading skills and introduces students to a world of knowledge and exploration.

The book titles used each week will be announced ahead of the session. This part of the session along with the comprehension discussion after reading should take about 20 minutes, but may be shorter or longer depending on the specific title and follow-up discussion.

Here are the steps to access Scholastic BookFLIX and the book of the week.

  • Go to
  • Click on BookFLIX tab.
  • Enter your library card number and click Submit.
  • Click on Start.
  • Enter title name in search bar (be sure it is exact title with apostrophes and punctuation marks or title may not be found) or find title within in one of the nine categories.
  • Once you have found the title, click on Read the Book.
  • Use arrows in corner of book screen to enter full screen mode.
  • If you need to Zoom in, click on Zoom to go in and Fit to go back to original view.
  • Click on Right Arrow to move forward to the next page and the Left Arrow to go back to previous page.
  • Words highlighted in yellow are vocabulary words. Click on the highlighted words to review definition with student.
  • Once you see the cover of the book again, that means the book has reached the conclusion.

If you do not have a Luzerne Library Card, please visit to sign up for an e-Card. Also, please be sure to write down your card number as that is the only way to access the BookFLIX program.

Sample List of Comprehension Questions (included with the 20 minutes from book reading)

While reading the weekly book, be sure to reinforce the main ideas from the book as well as any supporting details. While there are some questions mixed in with the non-fiction BookFLIX titles, it is always important to keep the children engaged by reviewing and fostering discussion of the material.

Attached below is a Sample Comprehension Question List that will offer a volunteer guidance on questions to ask before reading the book, questions to ask as you are reading, and some follow up questions once finished reading.

View Comprehensive Questions

Educational Game Worksheets (if time allows after reading and discussion)

If there is enough time at the end of the session once reading has been completed, we offer the children a reward by playing an educational literacy game. We have compiled various worksheets together that can be screen shared with the students each week.

There are four different sets of worksheets to choose from and once again, your choice should be based on the individual student’s reading ability.

  • For Beginning Readers who may have difficulty recognizing early sight words, we have a “Beginning Vowels” game where the student will choose the correct letter based on the words shown. Pictures are also shown to help identify the word listed.
  • We also have a game for the Beginning Readers called “Finding Words That Rhyme” that offers only pictures and the students will have to choose which two words rhyme based on a series of four pictures.
  • For Emergent Readers who may have mastered the alphabet but are still unable to identify more challenging sight words, we have a “Beginning Sounds” game that involves identifying the picture and determining the beginning letter sound.
  • And for Transitional Readers who are able to identify the letters and words on the previous two charts, we have a slightly more challenging Sight Words game called “Matching Words That Rhyme” that does not offer any picture clues. A main word will be listed at the top and the student will have to find rhyming words from a series of random words listed below.

Reading Buddies Supplemental Lesson Tools- Additional Videos and Games

We have also developed a Reading Buddies Supplemental Lesson Materials List. This list has links to YouTube videos, reading games, and other lesson tools that can be used to help enhance your experience with your students. These ideas may be a great way to change up your lesson if your feel students have successfully mastered our Reading Buddies worksheet sets within the first half of the year.

View Tools, Videos & Games

We have also found a set of roll and read sight word lists since one of the online tools on our list is a virtual classroom dice, along with an easy sight word tic tac toe game that might be fun to use with your students.

Download Roll & Read ListsDownload Tic-Tac-Toe

You do not have to use any of these ideas if you are comfortable with the other materials currently being used. They are just some additional options to help keep your students engaged as their reading levels progress throughout the year.

Goodbye (3 minutes)

Finally, we have about three minutes at the end of the session allotted for a proper goodbye with your student. Notification will be given when five minutes remain in the session so each volunteer should plan for that time at the end of the session. This is the best time to remind your student to keep reading when they are home and to let them know when you will see them again. After a 60 second countdown at the end of the breakout session, all students and volunteers will come back together for a final group goodbye, led by Ashley.

Pennsylvania Clearance Information

Below are the Pennsylvania mandated clearances you will need to participate in the program.

  1. ACT 34: PA State Police Criminal History Report Clearance.
    To access, please visit and click “new record check (volunteers only).” Once completed, please print the confirmation page and return to my attention.
  1. ACT 151: Child Abuse Clearance
    To access, please visit: and create a user account. When prompted, the purpose of this clearance is “Volunteer.” The clearance is free of charge for volunteers once every five years. Once the clearance is completed, please view and print the clearance from the confirmation page and return to me.
  1. ACT 114: FBI Fingerprint Clearance
    This clearance has a $23.85 cost associated with it that United Way will pay in full. You can register online to schedule your fingerprinting at Please enter code 1KG6XN.
    Please reach out to Ashley Winslow for your individual payment code.
    There are 3 local locations where you can register for fingerprinting.

    • Children’s Service Center, located on 324 S. Franklin St. Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, has hours available Monday–Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    • The Luzerne Intermediate Unit, located on 368 Tioga Ave, Kingston, PA 18704, has hours available Monday-Friday from 8:20 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.
    • AAA Building, located inside the Triangle Plaza at 679 Kidder St. Wilkes-Barre Township, PA 18702, has hours available Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    I will not have access to the results so once you get your result letter in the mail, you can either scan and email, fax or mail it to me. Whatever works best for you is fine by me!
    For FBI Clearance – Please check your email within 30 days after fingerprints are taken. You will receive an email with your UEID# and the results. You need to save this email as a file and submit it to me. You will only be able to access the email one-time, and you will have a 30-day window to access the email from the date it was sent.

  1. Mandated Reporter Training will register for the Option 1- Live Virtual Training (using the same website as above) just picking which date/time works best for you. This option is free but if there is no availability or does not meet the needs of your schedule, you can also sign up for a free self-paced Mandated Reporter training at
  1. 90 Day Waiver
    Please fill out the form below and return to Ashley Winslow.
Download 90 Day Waiver
  1. Arrest and Conviction Form
    Please fill out the form below and return to Ashley Winslow.
Download Arrest & Conviction Form
  1. Physical/TB Test
    A new requirement as of 2023 is that a physical be performed by your physician, along with a Tuberculosis test. Please ask your physician for documentation for physical and TB test administered before volunteering can begin. The volunteer shall provide a form that shows a physical was performed and the TB test was administered within three months/have a documented nonsignificant tuberculin test.

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