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Truffle Babble

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Buddy Reader

Without even realising it, I inexplicably found myself in the middle of 3 buddy reads in the last month – which was kind of amazing and it inspired me to write a bit about it because although I haven’t done many buddy-reads with people; I think I’ve got most of the elements down pat. So why not create a quick guide? First up; what is buddy reading?

Buddy Reading:

Buddy reading is a great way to help your child gain fluency. In buddy reading, you and your child take turns reading by sentence, paragraph, or page. Also called paired reading or partner reading, buddy reading has multiple benefits, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that it prevents discouragement

reading the same book with someone (a buddy) at the same time and therefore; together.

It seems like it may be a no-brainer to most people in the book community but quite a few people I know who don’t read have had no idea what a buddy-read even is! I’ve had to explain the concept quite a few times now and it is a bit funny that most people who don’t read still consider the hobby a more solitary activity than a potential group.

I put together a few tips below for this guide on how to make sure you and your buddy have a great reading experience together – and also to give others an idea of how to buddy-read if don’t really know how.

Pick the Right Book

I think this is the hardest part of buddy-reading. Not everybody has the same collection of books so we have to be mindful to pick a book that either both parties own or one is willing to borrow/buy. It’s also important to pick something both of you are likely to enjoy! One person may prefer reading literary fiction while the other prefers fantasy. To combat this, explore the options of what book you both might enjoy. If the above is the case, maybe get a book in a genre that’s kind of in-between like a magical realism fiction book.

Pick One Platform & Stick To It

I have made the mistake in the past of discussing buddy reads over like 3 different social media platforms and it gets confusing! Without knowing it, you’ll have started 3 different conversations with the same person about the same book – and it’s just way more convenient to use the one platform to discuss it. All the information you’ve shared is in the one place online – or in-person if you’re a patient, brave person that does buddy reading through pen pal letters.

Set Goals

This is super important. There isn’t a whole lot of point in discussing what’s going on in the book – or at least it would be very hard to if both you and your buddy aren’t at the same spot. Whenever I do a buddy read, I set an easy page goal of 50 to 100 pages. You might want to set a date for a bigger deadline too or leave it to only the page goal so that both you and your buddy have flexibility.

Don’t Read Ahead

Betrayal. That’s what this is. If you’re reading this, Buddy ‘K’, you know who you are and the friendship you degraded by reading the whole book ahead instead of the 100 pages we agreed on during our buddy read.

Just don’t do it. It’s not nice. It can ruin things. Sure, the book can be so good that you want to keep going but think of the OTHERS.

Be Patient

Instead of reading ahead or finishing the book early, I’d recommend patience. Not everybody reads at the same pace nor do they have the same lives and schedules. Generally, when I’m in a buddy-read, I have another book I’m reading so that when I reach the agreed-upon page goal, I have something else to pick up.

Don’t Restrict Yourself to One Buddy

This is kind of what I did, I already had a buddy read with someone and started another with another person because I like to read and discuss with others. Don’t ever feel as if you only have to do one buddy read at a time and also don’t restrict yourself to the idea that you can only buddy read with one person too!

Book clubs have been a thing for a long time and multi-people buddy-reads are almost like a mini version of that – although you are discussing while reading the book and not just at the very end. I feel like small group buddy reads are so fun because you get to share more opinions and discussions with each other. It also gives you a reason to have a video call to discuss instead of just over messaging.

Remember to Have Fun

This seems like an obvious but remember that this is supposed to be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, maybe it’s time to talk with your buddy and let them know. I have DNFed books during a buddy read before and your buddy should be understanding if you’re really hating the book or just not into a reading mood anymore.

You can also make buddy reads more fun by creating specific challenges – you could brainstorm up photo challenges, picking gifs for your feelings or the characters of the situations you are up to. There are so many ways you can embrace and spice up a buddy read to make it even more fun for everyone.

Buddy-reads are pretty fun. I find them so wholesome being able to share the reading experience with someone so I hope that these tips are helpful if you haven’t done one before or if you wondering how you can potentially step up your buddy-reading game.

Have you done a buddy read before? What was the main highlight of it for you?

Until next time,

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    • Tracy

      Aw thank you! I’m so glad it was somewhat helpful – I’d hate the idea that I’m writing a post that’s irrelevant haha

  • Meeghan reads

    I am a terrible buddy reading partner. Once I lost a book (left it on a plane) in the middle of a read. I did get it back a week later… but still. Who even leaves books on planes?!!

    • Tracy

      Oh dear, Meeghan…that probs wasn’t your best buddy read moment but shit happens haha I’m sure you’re a great buddy reader!

    • Tracy

      I’d be happy to buddy read with you one day! Once my schedule clears and I finish the 3 I’m in the middle of haha I think 3 is a bit much for me. All it takes is reaching out to someone šŸ™‚

  • Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

    I only started buddy reading pretty recently, so my experience is limited to the 3 buddy reads I’ve done! None of them went exactly as planned and I think that’s because of three things.

    One, I’m a mood reader. So I can’t just force myself to read when I’m not in the mood, even if I kind of made an obligation to read. So for me a buddy read sort of prioritizes a book for me, but doesn’t mean that I’ll read it at the set start time, which is kinda terrible of me. Oooops!

    Two, and related to number one, I only really have time to read over the weekend. So if a buddy read is a daily page count thing, that doesn’t really work for me. I’m too busy with school and life and errands to focus on a book during the week. So that complicates matters because that means that either one person will be ahead, or our reading goals have to be set week by week.

    Three, I’ve only done buddy reads with people that are way ahead of me in terms of time zones. That makes it really hard for me to keep track of what point I’m supposed to have read up to on a given day, which is already hard for me to do because of mood reading, and reading on the weekends pretty much exclusively.

    So in my very wordy way, what I was trying to say is that this post was really interesting to me because it mentioned some things that I hadn’t considered to improve my buddy reading experience. I think what I’ve really learned is that I need to be open with my reading buddy about my limitations when it comes to buddy reading, that way we can do a more flexible sort of buddy read, where I don’t have to feel bad if I’m a little behind or a little ahead!

    • Tracy

      I love this reflection! I’ve 100% suffered in past buddy reads because of everything you’ve said and it’s super important to get that transparency cause buddy reads should be fun! I hope you have much more successful buddy reads in the future šŸ™‚ <3

  • Molly's Book Nook

    OOH MY GOODNESS. I did not expect to see my bookmarks when I opened this post. That was such a nice surprise. I’m glad you’re still using them and that they make appearances in your bookish life lol.

    As for the post, I SUCK as a buddy reader. I read too slow so the person is always ahead of me. I don’t read every day so even setting chapter goals is hard. I’m supposed to buddy read ACOTAR next month but I warned the girl I’m doing it with that it will most likely take me FOREVER (its even a reread for me lol).

    • Tracy

      I’m definitely still using them!! Although I think I’ve lost half my bookmarks in books I own haha
      And that’s fair but I’m sure if you find the right patient partner that may read at the same pace or happily wait that you’d have a great experience šŸ™‚ You can do it!

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