Rasinski (2012) suggests three of the essentials for developing reading fluency are reading real literature, getting real-time word recognition support, and participating in assisted reading activities. These are included in Buddy Bags as families are encouraged to participate in the reading and response journal writing on whatever level they are able. Paired reading allows children to share books they have experienced at school, to lead literacy activities familiar to them (similar to those done in class), and thus to take a comfortable leadership role in the family activity. As they interact with their family members, children can experience first hand how parents or older siblings may grapple with text complexity and make connections among themes, characters, unknown vocabulary words, or story concepts. But the most important purpose of the Buddy Bags is to engage families in pleasurable literacy activities in a relaxed, comfortable environment.
Buddy Bags provide outstanding learning and social opportunities. This is a win-win-win project: parents learn about their children, children learn about their families, and literacy skills taught in school are reinforced at home in authentic ways. Children experience a sense of ownership and involvement as they share their own response page in show-and-tell manner soon after they bring the bag back. This provides them the spotlight, expanding their social and oral skills while sharing information about their families. Their excitement often inspires their classmates and they can hardly wait until it is their turn to take another Buddy Bag home.