D75 teachers collaborate on Zoom Buddy Reading to promote literacy during pandemic
For the first-ever Zoom Buddy Reading, fifth-grade students from Mechanics Grove read two of their favorite fall poems and showed a picture book to Washington first-graders.
With remote learning being a struggle for some students, Jackie Ewing, a fifth-grade teacher at Mechanics Grove, explored how she can promote literacy and build confidence within her students while in a remote setting.
“I thought pairing up with a first-grade class would be a good way to have my fifth graders gain confidence in their reading and take on a leadership role with younger students,” said Ewing.
Ewing presented the idea to Lauren Wilczak, a first-grade teacher at Washington. Wilczak immediately said yes and explained that “I've done buddy reading activities in previous school years, and I know how much the kids enjoy it.”
“Many of our students are at home doing their remote learning and might not have many opportunities to socialize with kids outside of their class,” Wilczak explained.
Each student got paired with a buddy who would complement their unique personality.
“We put some of the shy first graders with more outgoing fifth graders who could bring them out of their shells. We also paired up some students who are native Spanish speakers and encouraged them to speak in Spanish if they wanted to,” said Wilczak.
While in their breakout rooms, fifth-graders lead discussions with their reading buddy about school, remote learning and reading. The fifth graders also showed first-graders various Zoom features such as sharing a screen.
“It was so great to see how many kids embraced this opportunity. Remote learning has been a tough adjustment for all, and this is a way to mix things up and get kids excited about reading in a new way,” said Ewing.
Zoom Buddy Reading was a hit with both first and fifth-grade students. Ewing shared that, “students have asked me every day when we are going to do it again. It's a good changeup of our normal schedule, and it helps to have the students have something to look forward to when it comes.”
Both teachers are looking forward to having Zoom Buddy Reading on a monthly basis.