Students spend a lot of time taking in information from various sources: teachers, assistants, books, computers, etc. They are continually on a learning journey to better themselves. Through hands-on activities, experiences, and mini-lessons, students gather knowledge to further their journey. However, nothing allows learners to remember a topic or subject better than having to teach it to someone else. Being an expert on a subject and passing on knowledge has a way of allowing students to rise to the challenge of true understanding. The process allows them to solidify their own understanding while boosting self-confidence.
This year, Ms. Gaio's fifth grade class has partnered up with Mrs. Roger's kindergarten students to mentor them in reading. Every Friday, the two classes get together to read. Each fifth grader models strategies Mrs. Rogers has taught the kindergarten students previously in the week. So far this year students have worked on the following strategies: identifying the front and back cover of a book and gaining information from the covers, taking a picture walk through the book to gather information, indetifying where to start reading on a page, using a finger for reading fluency, and knowing the difference between letters, words and sentences. The buddies work together to record titles of the books they have read and have get involved in great conversations about the books. Through sharing character connections, retelling favorite parts of stories, and making predictions, the fifth graders are passing along their expert knowledge on reading.
As the year moves forward, more strategies and skills will be uncovered by the budding partnerships, Ms. Gaio's fifth graders are excited about helping Mrs. Roger's kindergarteners move forward as readers and critical thinkers.