The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Finishing Buddy Reading

Throughout the year, my students have gone down to room one to partner with the students in two of the three first grade classes to read for 35 minutes once a week. This has been met with mixed results, but overall has been quite productive. When we started, the students just read with each other, focusing on developing oral reading fluency. Then we selected a few students to work on targeted reading response activities to help foster comprehension, as well. After several weeks, we decided to expand this to all of the students and started preparing a variety of graphic organisers for them to use each week. The organisers covered topics like plot elements (beginning, middle, end), literature features (characters, setting, plot), and summarising.

One of the highlights of the year was when we asked the students to draw a picture and write a short paragraph about their favourite story of the year. As the two first grade teachers and I looked over the work the students submitted, we found that one of the first graders wrote an entire sentence on her own–the first time this had happened all year!

Now, for fourth graders, that is not much of an accomplishment. But for a first grader, learning to write complete sentences is hugely important! It was so awesome to know that one of my students had a hand in helping this particular student master this skill! (Other students wrote entire paragraphs, which was equally awesome for the same reasons.)

Today was the end of our buddy reading program. Instead of just reading or completing graphic organisers, we did something a little different. The first graders were working on reading about different kinds of animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and arachnids) and completing a packet with illustrations and labels. It went really well! What a great way to wrap up a year of reading together!

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