CHINA GROVE – For about 40 minutes on Thursday, kindergarten and high school students shared the library at China Grove Primary School.
The group is a twinning of two school classes as “reading buddies”. Secondary students come to primary school once a month to spend time reading with the younger ones.
Kindergarten teacher Sarah Safrit said the kids are each given boxes of books and it’s a two-way street. High school students read in kindergarten and vice versa.
“It’s a great way to get our kids talking about books and the love of learning,” Safrit said.
Kindergartner Ashtyn Dayden said she was excited for the session.
“Reading is fun,” she says.
Dayden read “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” ” Thursday. Dayden said she has learned to read more since she started kindergarten. Her favorite book is “I want to be a ballerina”.
Safrit said there was a dramatic change in the reading skills of kindergarten children from the start to the end of the school year. At the start of the year, most children still distinguish between pictures and text, hold books correctly, and read the right way.
“At the end of the year, they switch to reading words, pictures and being able to talk about the books and what they read,” Safrit said, adding that the change was exciting.
Safrit said she thinks it’s good for kids to see that they’ll never stop reading when interacting with older students. For high school students, this is a good opportunity for them to be positive role models.
Madilyn Cherry, a junior from South Rowan, said she hadn’t been back to elementary school since attending until classes started to be reading buddies.
“Coming back to see kids as young as me and doing the things that I was doing with them and teaching them is a great opportunity to be with my community,” Cherry said.
She said it was hard to imagine that she had been a kindergarten student, but she sees herself in kindergartens when she interacts with them.
“We also try to talk to them about life and what they do in school,” Cherry said. “That way they can just interact with us and see what it’s like to talk to older people. “
Alex Allen, an English teacher at South Rowan High, said she and Safrit have set up a matching program between previous classes. She hopes the kids can come to high school to read at some point, and she plans to attend their kindergarten graduation.
For high school students, Allen said it gives them the chance to develop their communication skills and bond with kids who might go to their high school someday.
“We’ve had countless conversations about the choice of language and words and how it’s going to be a little different,” Allen said, adding that the goal was for high school kids to be a beacon of hope in children’s day.