SIDNEY — Christian Academy Schools (CAS) Kindergarten teacher, Nikki Coberly and fifth/sixth-grade teacher, Rebecca Fishback have developed a successful supplemental reading program. They are entering the second year of pairing their students as reading buddies.
“The buddy reading begins at the beginning of third quarter. This allows both classes to be well into the routine of school and regular schedules. It also allows the kindergarten students to become more confident in their reading abilities,” said Fishback.
The students are paired by ability, gender and personality and will remain together for the remainder of the year.
The teachers devised this program, inspired by a common vision at the school.
“As a staff, we have discussed ideas of how to give the students opportunities to partner with other grade levels. This allows students to be challenged, encouraged and supported in their educational experience,” said Coberly.
When the buddies first start meeting, the older kids read to the younger ones. As time goes on, and the kindergartners gain confidence, they will read, too. The pairs meet every Thursday for 15 minutes.
Both age groups enjoy having a reading buddy, although for different reasons.
“The fifth/sixth-grade students love the opportunity to be ‘teachers’ to the kindergartners. When asked, they feel like they are making an impact on the young lives by encouraging and supporting them in their reading abilities. They learn about their likes, dislikes, and interests. Even though they are several years apart in their ages, they love the chance to make new friends,” said Fishback.
“The kindergarten students frequently ask if it is the reading buddy day yet! The students enjoy time to be one-on-one with an older student who cares about them,” said Coberly.
The friendships carry over to the halls of the school with students hugging or giving each other a high five when they meet. The kindergartners enjoy having an older student greet them by name, and the older students are given the chance to be a positive role model.
The teachers have gotten positive feedback from the students and the staff. They plan to have future classes collaborate.
Fishback has taught for 12 years, and this is her second year at CAS. She earned her Bible and Elementary Education degree from Kentucky Christian University.
Coberly has taught for seven years, all of them at CAS. Coberly earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Education from Wright State University.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.