“Hanging Out” with Reading Buddies

Four years ago my fourth graders started reading to a group of kindergarten students in Fulton, Missouri.   It went something like this.

This year, one kindergarten class and one fifth grade class right here in our district have sparked a similar project and are doing an amazing job.  Fifth graders from Mrs. Siegel and Mrs. Moran’s class have been meeting in groups of three, preparing to read a picture book to Ms. Leary’s kindergarten class.  Instead of Skype, however, both classes have been scheduling and joining a Google Hangout every week.  Both fifth graders and kindergarten students have been thrilled to connect with each other as this is a cherished part of the week for all, even the teachers!

When it’s “show time,” each fifth grader in the group is ready to go, knowing his or her role in reading the story. It’s almost as if the younger children are watching a book come to life much like a play.  The kindergarten class becomes silent, completely engaged in this special experience at the same time being exposed to model fluency.

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The students love seeing their kindergarten buddies and their smiles as they read the book to them.  It’s definitely a highlight of their day!” – Mrs. Siegel

“We love that it’s a different group of fifth graders each time and also that they teach us partner reading.” – Ms. Leary

I was lucky enough to visit Ms. Leary’s class and here is what they had to say regarding their favorite part of this new adventure so far!

“We love the “Elephant and Piggy” stories!”

“We get to answer their questions about the story!”

“We get to meet new friends!”

“We love that older kids are reading to us!”

This has been a wonderful experience for both classes so far and it’s just the beginning.  For teachers who are interested in scheduling a Google Hangout, click here for directions.

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