Each year, 4th grade and Kindergarten team up to be Reading Buddies. The goal is for the 4th graders to practice their reading out loud skills and for the Kindergarteners to enjoy books. The goal is accomplished each year, with the added benefit of a memorable relationship being formed. Past kindergarteners anxiously look forward to the day that they get to be the reader, and when they are in 8th grade can still tell you who their reading buddy was when they were in kindergarten. Fourth graders also gain self confidence not only in their reading skills, but also as a student and leader - having a younger child look up, love, and admire you is a big confidence booster!
It is a beautiful way to build community in our school. A feeling of family gives the kids a sense of belonging and support. Mrs. Doering and Mrs. Clements love to see the kids get so excited any time they see their buddy in school and give each other a big hug. For kids in 4th grade, they see a child who thinks they are God's gift to them and it gives them an awareness of how God is using them in a powerful way even if they don't feel that as confidently in their classroom.
In a month or two the 4th graders will be writing their own children's books. They will then have the opportunity to share those with their kindergarten buddies!