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

Buddy Reading Celebration

Today was the last day that the fourth graders partnered up with their first grade reading buddies for actual reading. Before going down to their classroom this morning, I asked my students to think about what has gone well with this activity this year. Some of the things they reflected on included:

  • The first graders have become much stronger readers! They have the stamina to read for longer periods of time and the skills to read more challenging texts than they did at the start of the year.
  • The first graders are much better at staying focused! At the start of the year, it seemed that the majority of the time with the first graders was spent with reminding them to sit down, open a book, and read. There are still a few times they need reminders (they are first graders, after all!), but they are generally much better at attending to a specific task for a set amount of time.
  • The first graders are more comfortable with their reading buddies. When we first started visiting, they were very shy. Having 9- and 10-year-olds show up in their classroom once a week can be really intimidating, especially when these fourth graders are more than twice their size! But now they greet each other in the hall, they give each other hugs and high fives, and they talk about what they are learning about in class!

I also asked my students to think about things they can do better when they do buddy reading next year, mostly likely as fifth graders partnered with kindergarteners. The biggest suggestion was to take time to teach them how to stay focused before actually reading. Another important suggestion was to read to them rather than expecting them to do all of the reading. I loved how reflective my students were about this activity and the goals they set for improving in the future!

When we went down to the first grade room, the first graders had each selected their favourite book to read to their buddies. For 30 minutes, the first grade teacher and I were able to watch as our students read with one another, talked about books with each other, and shared in reading. It was a wonderful experience and a great way to wrap up a year of reading together! We will still meet two more times, but we are planning other ways to celebrate the accomplishments of the year. Today, though, was a great way to think about all the growth that has been made and to simply share in the joy of reading one more time.

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