August 12, 2019

Library partners with Marburn Academy to enhance its Reading Buddies program

Officials will be available for comment on Monday, Aug. 26

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) has partnered with educators at Marburn Academy to enhance its Reading Buddies program.

Since it was unveiled in 2014, Reading Buddies has offered K-3 students 15 minutes of one-on-one reading practice with an adult buddy at all 23 CML locations. The program was developed in response to Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which stipulated that students who did not pass Third Grade Reading proficiency testing could be held back in third grade. At the time, an alarming number of central Ohio students were failing the reading assessment.

Based on a yearlong collaboration with Marburn Academy special educators, CML is introducing a new iteration of the Reading Buddies program, which library leaders believe will maximize its effectiveness in preparing K-3 students for reading success.

Features of the enhanced Reading Buddies program include:

  • A move to a skill- and strength-based approach – with students and their buddies working together to fill out specialized reading tool sheets during their session
  • Increased involvement of parents and caregivers in an effort to continue practice at home

This new approach to Reading Buddies officially launches at all 23 CML locations today, Monday, Aug. 12. Last week, Marburn Academy Outreach Director Stephanie Royal helped train CML youth services staff in administering the new program.

CML and Marburn Academy officials will be available for media comment during the Reading Buddies session on Monday, Aug. 26 from 3:30-5 p.m. at CML’s Whitehall Branch (4445 E. Broad St.)

“At Columbus Metropolitan Library, our goal is to equip young minds with the tools they need to be successful, and to work closely with parents and caregivers so they can continue that important work at home,” said CML CEO Patrick Losinski. “We are so fortunate in central Ohio to have access to world-class educational thought leaders like we have at Marburn Academy. Leveraging community partnerships like these creates better outcomes for our customers – particularly our youngest ones.”

"Marburn and CML have shared values and both organizations strive to serve children's educational needs in meaningful and lasting ways,” said Scott Burton, Marburn Academy’s Interim Head of School. “We were thrilled to be able to lend Marburn’s expertise in reading development and instruction and develop a customized approach to help elevate a recognizable program like Reading Buddies. Early indicators show that this collaboration is improving the experience and outcomes for students and parents alike.”

Since the program’s debut, CML staff and volunteers have led more than 150,000 Reading Buddies sessions with K-3 students system-wide, including 37,000 in 2018. It continues to increase in popularity.

Marburn Academy is a not-for-profit, independent day school devoted to serving the educational needs of students with learning differences such as dyslexia and ADHD. Opened in 1981 with 12 students, Marburn now educates over 350 students year-round. Students from approximately 37 central Ohio school districts attend the school. Marburn’s outreach programs also serve our community through mission-driven work to provide access, best practice and improve academic outcomes for thousands of Central Ohio students each year. For more information, visit

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. CML was also named 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal.