Older students are now mentoring younger students at Mt. Comfort Elementary with their love of literature. This new program, called Book Buddies, brings new learning opportunities for young students to create new relationships with older students. At Mt. Comfort Elementary, Principal Casey Dodd, 5th Grade Teacher Ashley Schenk, and Kindergarten Teacher Brianne Williams saw a great opportunity to connect classes through reading, mentoring, and inspiring a love of learning in both age groups.
Book Buddies connects each fifth grade class to a kindergarten class with the intent to spark a love of literature in each pair of students. The fifth grade student reads and engages with the kindergarten student for 20 minutes every other Wednesday. The fifth graders lead discussions about important topics in the story and major details of the book such as the cover, author, and title page. After reading the book, they then discuss characters, setting, and a variety of other story elements.
Book Buddies is a program that benefits both the fifth grade students and kindergartners in a variety of ways. The older students gain many skills such as: becoming a leader, working on problem-solving skills, improving self-confidence, developing literacy skills, and learning responsibility. They model reading fluency and expressions to the younger students while reading to them as well. The younger students benefit by expanding their vocabulary, hearing stories read aloud, and having conversations with an older student about their interests and what they love. Book Buddies engage the students in literature while learning many other life skills.
The Mt. Comfort Elementary Principal, Mr. Casey Dodd, sees numerous benefits of having a Book Buddies program at the school. “One of the major positives is that it helps the older students as they almost have to take on a teaching role, which means that they have to have a firm grasp of the skills they are working on with the younger students,” Dodd said. “It's also great for the younger students because they are able to have a model for those reading skills.”
The students get to enjoy fun, positive experiences by reading with each other and learning more about literature through the Book Buddies program. Mt. Vernon Schools consistently inspire a love of learning while teaching the importance of using what you have learned to positively impact others.