Monday, September 24, 2012

Having Fun with Common Core: More Reading Buddies

While writing my last post, I realized that some teachers who are unfamiliar with Reading Buddies might like some tips for integrating such a program into their school, so here is some advice I collected from teachers all over the country.
  • Younger students should have some ability to read independently. Their buddies should be at least three years older to provide the feeling of a mentoring experience.

  • The program should span several months. Meeting once a week for about 30 minutes works well in most schools.
  • Buddies should have a quiet, comfortable place to read. The reading space should remain consistent so the students have a feeling of familiarity as well as security.
  • Try to pair students according to needs, ability level, and personality. For example, an emerging reader in second grade might be paired with a patient, mature fifth grader.
  • Active children with some attention difficulties would be paired with calmer, more focused students.
  • It is best to let students select their own books, but be sure they have plenty of books at the appropriate level to choose from.
  • Spend some time training older students and modeling how they should interact with their younger buddies. Periodically meet with the older students to discuss any problems they are having with their younger buddies.
  • Have each buddy team keep a log of the books they read together. As the list grows, they will feel a sense of accomplishment.

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