Book Buddies - Literacy Mentor


Develop child literacy skills in a fun environment!

The SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre has partnered with the Surrey School District Community School’s Partnership Department and the READ Surrey White Rock Society to develop and implement a one-on-one reading program, the Book Buddies Program, with funding from Decoda Literacy’s Fostering Literacy Grant and the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation. 

Option 1:

Every Tuesday

2:30 to 5:00 pm

At Old Yale Elementary School 

10135 132 St, Surrey 

Option 2:

Every Thursday

2:30 to 5:00 pm

At Hjorth Road Elementary School

14781 104 Ave, Surrey

This program will support children who are reading below their grade level in grades 2-4, as research shows that strong early reading skills are a predictor of future academic success. Reading at the appropriate grade level has been identified as a protective factor for vulnerable children.

The goal for this program is not only to support learners to read at their grade-level, but even more importantly to foster a love for reading, and to encourage children to become lifelong readers. The activities will focus on making reading fun, and developing confidence and motivation to read.

Activities will also guide learners through reading exercises that focus on the following keys to reading success: Phonemic awareness, Phonics, Developing Vocabulary and Sight Word banks, Reading Comprehension, and Fluency. 

We are looking for SFU students or alumni to volunteer as Literacy Mentors with the program from 2:30 p.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. on one or both of the following days:

  • Tuesdays at Old Yale Elementary School 
  • Thursdays at Hjorth Road Elementary School

Your role:

As a Literacy Mentor, you will work with one or two students each week to lead them through different reading exercises and literacy games and worksheets. You will help set-up and run activities, lead your buddies through the various activities, and generally be a positive role model for respectful and fun learning on a committed and weekly basis. The goal of this program is for learners to have a committed mentor that they work with on a weekly basis to develop their literacy skills in an environment where they can make mistakes, learn and grow.

In this role, you will:

  • Learn about the literacy goals and supports available for early readers in the Surrey School District;

  • Acquire knowledge and skills in effective strategies for supporting children one-on-one with their reading;

  • Apply learned knowledge in phonemic awareness, phonics, developing vocabulary and sight word banks, reading comprehension, and fluency by supporting children through reading activities.  

  • Apply interpersonal, communication, cross-cultural awareness and instructional skills by delivering program activities; 

  • Apply learned knowledge of the curriculum by coming up with new ideas for activities, or by altering existing activities to meet the needs and interests of the children attending the program;

  • Apply interpersonal, empathy and relationship-building skills by developing healthy relationships with the children in the program.

Other benefits:

  • Gain experience facilitating an afterschool program.

  • Gain demonstrable leadership and mentorship experience.

  • Have the opportunity to engage with other SFU students.

  • Gain experience delivering programming.  

  • Earn credit on your SFU Co-Curricular Record.

Dates, Times & Locations:

Option 1:

  • Every Tuesday from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Location: Old Yale Elementary (10135 132 St, Surrey) 
  • Dates: May 7 to June 11, 2024

Option 2:

  • Every Thursday from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Location: Hjorth Road Elementary (14781 104 Ave, Surrey)
  • Dates: May 9 to June 13, 2024

Volunteer Training:

 For Tuesday Volunteers:

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2024 | From 3:00 to 6:00 pm | At Old Yale Elementary  

 For Thursday Volunteers:

  • Thursday, May 2, 2024 | From 3:00 to 6:00 pm | At Hjorth Road Elementary 

If you cannot attend the training session held at your chosen site, you may attend the other available session. Attendance at one of the above two sessions is mandatory. 

Sample Daily Schedule:  

2:30 pm - Prep time and set up (towards the end of this we begin setting up the room and session supplies)
3:00 pm - Welcome + Group literacy activity
3:15 pm - Reading or literacy games with your buddy
3:35 pm - 10-minute break
3:45 pm - Group literacy activity
4:00 pm - Reading or literacy games with your buddy
4:15 pm - 10 minute break/game outside (weather permitting)
4:25 pm - Student check-out + Dismissal
4:30 pm - Volunteer debrief (ends at 5:00 p.m.)
5:00 pm to 5:15 pm - Brainstorming future session activities (optional)


The successful incumbent should:

  • Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or Continuing Studies program at SFU or be an SFU Alumni;

  • Be passionate about helping those in the community and making a difference;

  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills

  • Have a strong ability to take initiative, independently interact with program participants and be proactive. Can determine what needs to be done and do it before being asked to; 

  • Have excellent interpersonal skills and exhibit a friendly and approachable attitude

  • Be excited to work with people with diverse backgrounds and personalities;

  • Previous experience working with children in a recreation or school setting will be considered an asset;

  • Volunteers must attend a mandatory training session to prepare them for the program; 

  • Be prepared to provide a copy of a valid Criminal Record Check.


If you are interested in this opportunity, please click the 'Apply Now' button below and submit your initial expression of interest.

You will then receive an email from SurveyMonkey containing our full application form which must be completed as soon as possible.

Deadline: Wednesday, April 24th | 11:59 PM

Please Note: If the required number of volunteers for this program is reached before the above deadline, this posting may be taken down.

Collection Notice: The information collected as part of the application process is under the authority of the University Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c.468). It is related directly to and needed by the University to administer the volunteer program through the SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre. The information will be used to screen volunteer applicants, refer applicants to opportunities of interest, and update applicants with information related to volunteer opportunities. If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information please contact Associate Director, Partnerships and Programs, 250-13450 102 Avenue, Surrey BC, V3T 0A3, 778-782-8082.    

Ready to learn about volunteering with the community as an SFU ambassador? Join the Community Engagement Volunteer Training Program.

Learn more

This opportunity is recognized on the Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official university document that tracks your co-curricular involvement at SFU. Learn more about the Co-Curricular Record at