The reading buddies program is the highlight of the week for many of the Grammar School students, but it’s not just a fun time for younger and older students to hang out. While it does build a sense of community amongst the Grammar School grades, the practice also has lasting benefits when it comes to reading fluency. The program started about ten years ago by pairing fourth grade students with Kindergartners, and this year added sixth and second grades.
“Mr. Read and I wanted a way to increase the fluency of our own 6th grade students and offer them an opportunity to be leaders in the Grammar School,” explains Mrs. Gibson, sixth grade teacher. “One of the best ways to increase a student’s fluency is to read passages that are below grade level [this helps our 6th graders] or to be read to [this helps the 2nd graders], so this is a win-win situation for our students!”
Fourth grade students are also paired throughout the year with kindergartners. “The books chosen are linked to what the kindergarten students are studying, providing integrative learning and reinforcement,” explains Mrs. Culp, fourth grade teacher. “The fourth graders ask their kindergarten buddies questions during and after reading, building listening and comprehension skills for the younger children. This also allows the fourth graders practice in formulating purposeful questions.”
The practice of pairing older students with younger ones in the Grammar School allows for mutual benefits across the board, and the reading buddies program is a great example of classical learning in action.