|YOUNG CHILDREN | March 2014|
|Reading Together: Primary Grade Children Connect With Preschoolers|
|by Hilary Jo Seitz and Carol Bartholomew|
“You can turn the page now.”
“Okay. I think it’s gonna be Biscuit’s birthday.”
—8-Year-Old Kaya Reading to 3-Year-Old Chloe
Children learn and build confidence as they interact and converse with more knowledgeable peers in a comfortable environment. Lev Vygotsky (1978) theorized that children use their language experiences to become aware of their own thinking so they can link their ideas to the ideas of others, which serves to expand their thoughts and learning. When second- and third-graders have opportunities to buddy read with preschoolers, children in both age groups feel more successful about their reading abilities. The older children’s reading fluency improves and their attitudes about reading grow more positive. In addition, these children feel more confident in themselves as readers and learners, particularly when learning is presented in fun and meaningful ways.
Young children may encounter many hurdles when they are learning to read. For example, some children are easily frustrated when they don’t know a letter combination sound or what a word means. Having enjoyable and positive reading opportunities helps support the process. Children need to master specific phonetic skills, incorporate previous letter and word knowledge, use vocabulary, and connect the meaning of thoughts and ideas (Bennett-Armistead, Duke, & Moses 2005; Pikulski & Chard 2005; Hasbrouck 2006; Morrow & Schickedanz 2006). Children can best master these skills when they have positive experiences—those that are fun and meaningful—and appropriate motivation. A multiage reading opportunity such as buddy reading enhances the learning-to-read process for both the younger and older child.
The buddy-reading project
Carol, a primary grade teacher at Polaris K–12 Optional School in Anchorage, Alaska, was looking for ways to engage the children in positive experiences that would encourage reading skills, such as fluency, as well as promote enjoyment in reading. The school district in which Carol works adopted a curriculum program to support the essential elements of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, as outlined by the Common Core State Standards (NGA & CCSSO 2010). In addition, the school’s mission promotes an environment that challenges students, teachers, and parents to personal excellence, lifelong learning, and ethical responsibility to self, community, and the world . . . Continue reading
About the Authors
Hilary Jo Seitz, PhD, is an associate dean in the College of Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is also a professor in the Early Childhood Department. Hilary researches early literacy in preschool and primary grades and culturally responsive teaching practices. email@example.com
Carol Bartholomew, MA, is the principal at Polaris K–12 Optional School in Anchorage. She was the second/third grade teacher during the time of this project. firstname.lastname@example.org