Primary and elementary grade students formed unique friendships at Trident Academy during the Spring 2015 semester. “My class loved Wednesday because they knew it was their ‘Book Buddy Day,” explains Mrs. Bryant, fourth grade teacher at Trident Academy.
The Book Buddy program started in the spring between Mrs. Waterstradt’s primary class (kindergarten through second grade) and Mrs. Bryant’s class. Each fourth grader was paired with one of the younger students based on reading level. Every Monday, the fourth graders went to the library and chose a book they thought their buddy would like. The classes met on Wednesdays so the buddies could read to each other.
“During the first week, some of my students were really nervous about reading to their buddies,” Mrs. Bryant says. “It was wonderful to see their confidence grow as they realized their buddies didn’t even realize if they hesitated over a word or if they weren’t sure what to do. The next week everyone had books in hand and were ready to go, no hesitations. They saw that they were able to help someone else that struggles like they do.”
The fourth graders chose books based on questions they asked their buddy or suggestions by teachers. Each partnership was different. The buddies took turns reading. The fourth graders would sometimes do most of the reading or the younger student might read and the fourth grader asked questions.
“My students were excited to read their books to their older buddies,” Mrs. Waterstradt says. “I loved watching them. They really bonded with their reading buddy and the older students learned to be role models for the younger students.”
Mrs. Bryant notes, “It makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you watch them all together. It was encouraging for all of us.”