Longtime School Tradition Takes a Different Spin

Fourth grade is an important year in elementary school, as students enter the “tween” years and take on more responsibility. One way to practice more responsibility is by becoming “reading buddies” with kindergartners. This year, however, this tradition looks a little different.

Fourth grade teacher Christina Hurley, knew her students were looking forward to being “reading buddies” and she wanted to provide them with the opportunity, while adhering to the safety guidelines.

“We were unable to do this in person, but my students still wanted to be great examples for their kindergarten friends,” she said. “We decided to have the students record themselves reading and to send the videos to the kindergarten students to watch in their own classroom.”

The students selected age-appropriate, high-interest books to read and record. Some chose to work independently, while others worked in small groups and used their voices to act out the stories.

“The students used the Clips App and our Hurley Recording Studio Boxes to make videos to send to all of the kindergarten classes,” Ms. Hurley said.

Kindergartners in Leslie Newman’s class had their morning snack recently while watching the videos sent from Ms. Hurley’s class. The fourth graders recorded two books from the “Elephant and Piggy” series by author Mo Willems.

The videos began with the fourth graders introducing themselves before reading the books and using different voices for the characters. The kindergartners were delighted to watch their peers on video.

“That was awesome!” Abigail said after the videos ended.

“How did they do that?” Nora, another student, wondered.

Many students recognized some of their peers in the videos.

“They loved seeing faces of students they know from the bus and a few recognized a big sister of a classmate,” Ms. Newman said. “The videos, which featured a variety of different stories, added extra excitement to snack time and the students were especially excited to see if they already knew the story or not.”

According to Ms. Hurley, there are many reasons to have “reading buddies.”

“In a typical year, the fourth graders are held with the responsibility of being positive role models for the younger students. They show them hallway walking expectations and how to appropriately act in the classroom,” she said. “Also, fourth graders are able to practice their reading fluency and expression to make reading exciting when sharing stories with their little buddies. My students are proud of themselves for being positive reading role models!”

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