Reading Buddies: A Student Service Project
By Dana Laxer, School Counselor at 45th Street
At Aaron School, the middle school students participate in Alliance, a once-weekly class focused on community service. Students have been learning about what it means to be a member of various communities, and how different people can help their community members through acts of service. We started the year focusing on one of our most local communities: our school community. This year’s Alliance theme is literacy. The middle school students have been hard at work on their first service project related to reading by serving as reading buddies to younger students! Counselors paired middle school and lower school students together, and middle school students have spent the last month making plans and preparations.
The middle school students began this project by considering ways to pick out books that would be engaging and age-appropriate for younger students based on their buddies’ interests. They visited the school library and thoughtfully chose books that would be fun for both themselves and their buddies to read. Over the course of a few weeks, they learned tips for reading aloud to younger students and practiced those skills on each other. They also brainstormed ice breaker questions, formed reading comprehension prompts, and considered ways to develop rapport and build personal connections with their younger buddies.
On a Tuesday afternoon, the lower school students eagerly awaited for their middle school buddies to arrive! The 6th and 7th graders greeted their buddies, introduced themselves, and sat down to read together. Students of all ages were so excited to get to know each other and explore different books! The middle school students did a tremendous job, reading confidently and asking thoughtful questions to check that their buddies were following along with the stories they were reading, understanding the material and making connections to the story elements. As the middle school students returned to their classrooms after the activity, they told their teachers how much they enjoyed reading with their younger buddies, while the lower school students were chatting about how nice it was for their older peers to visit and spend time with them. Students from all grades are already asking about when they can read with their buddies next!