Read Across America

Truman Students Mentor Elementary Students in Reading
Posted on 03/03/2023
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Truman High School students in Heidi Schopfer’s and Erin Stewart’s applied reading classes visit Danielle Silvinski’s first grade class at Mill Creek Elementary School every month. The older students read picture books, teach short lessons and mentor younger students in reading.

“Over the past three months, I have been able to interact with younger kids and I like that. I like helping them discover new things,” said Truman student Eric Crawley. “It has opened my eyes up to the possibility of working with young children this summer.”

To plan the lessons and select books, Schopfer’s and Stewart’s classes look at the seasons, holidays or special occasions. Then they research activities that promote reading with elementary students and relate to the lesson’s theme.

On their most recent visit on February 28, students focused on Dr. Seuss in honor of his birthday on March 2 and taught a short lesson using his books. They read a series of his classics such as “Cat in the Hat,” “Fox in Socks,” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” “Horton Hears a Who” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“I like when the big kids come to visit. The projects are fun. They help me with my reading,” said first grade student Ryland Privitello. “I made a new friend named Alex and she helps me sound out the words.”

After reading, Truman students taught Mill Creek students how to create Thing One and Thing Two puppets from “Cat in the Hat.”

“As beginning readers, it is so beneficial for my students to see that the older kids want to spend time reading to them. This in turn makes my students value and want to read even more,” said Silvinski.

Dr. Seuss’s birthday also kicks off Read Across America Week. Launched in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA) and guided by a committee of educators, Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading and promotes literacy among children and teens.

“Literacy is a basis of learning and developing a love for reading early in life,” said Schopfer. “Exposing elementary students to a variety of high school mentors and genres of literature helps develop imagination, vocabulary and social emotional skills needed for life.”

Although Read Across America is typically thought of as a weeklong event, it is actually a year-round program to promote reading.

“Over the years, many people lose the love of reading. We are trying to instill a love of reading and mold these students into lifelong learners,” said Stewart.

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