SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Gloria Cribben looks like a teacher – she sounds like one too.
Gloria and her late husband, Larry had a passion for reading and wanted to give back in their retirement. So, when they learned about Reading Buddies, an outreach ministry of River Bluff Church, they were hooked.
Now, she’s continuing to fulfill his passion for reading as the driving force behind the program at Oakbrook Elementary School in Summerville. It pairs buddies with students who need a little extra help in achieving their reading goals.
“They read to me, and I read to them and we play literacy games and puzzles and do things that are fun for them, because the whole idea is they have plenty of teaching going on all day long—the idea is for this half hour to be fun and to spark that little fire that’s going to make them love to read,” she said.
It’s working, and teachers at Oakbrook rave about Gloria and her growing army of volunteers.
She’s recruited more than 40 reading buddies from the community, which doubles the number of children getting the extra help they need to more than 80.
“You see her with the kids and you know that she’s not in it for the glory, she’s in it for the kids,” said Cat Watson. “Just like when I told her she got this award, she said “I don’t want the attention on me, I just want to make sure people know about this program so we can get more readers.’”
“It’s so rewarding because you can see the results,” said Cribben. “We have four young children now who are reading, they are on their way to success, right? You got it, guys!”
Gloria says the goal has always been to bless as many children as possible, and next year Eagle Nest Elementary will launch reading buddies as well.