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Archive for Thursday, April 30, 1998

SECOND-GRADERS ENHANCE SKILLS

April 30, 1998

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Junior high school students spend their Wednesdays helping second-graders with reading skills.

The chair was a bit short, but Southwest Junior High student Brian Collins didn't seem to notice.

``How do you spell `like,'?'' he asked second-grader David Teefey.

David spelled the word and the two moved on to the next word in the sentence.

Brian and David were working together as part of an exchange program between Sunflower School second-graders and SWJH ninth-graders. Every Wednesday one of four classes from the junior high heads to Mickey Woolard's second-grade class to help the younger students with reading and writing projects. The lesson on Wednesday focused on garden vegetable riddles.

``Every time a new class comes in I learn something new,'' David said. Getting to work with Brian was even more special because the two are neighbors.

``He helps me,'' David said.

The program, which is so informal it doesn't have a name, was the brainchild of Woolard and SWJH teacher Sue Hack. They've been doing it since the beginning of the school year.

``This has just been incredible with the friendships that are developing,'' Woolard said. ``My kids look forward to Wednesdays. They know when the kids from Southwest are coming for classes. Now they have friends in several different classes.''

Students pair off, either at random or second-grade students choose the partner they want. For 30 minutes they sit at tables or on the floor, working together to finish a project or read a story.

``It's good for our kids, to see them smile and make positive comments,'' Hack said. ``We looked at it as a way to perform a community service and give our students an opportunity to be teachers. We accomplished that because it gives each one an opportunity to be a leader.''

Working one on one helps the junior high students develop their own writing and editing skills, Hack said.

``It's a lifelong learning process,'' she said. ``It gives them insight into their own writing.''

Brian agreed.

``Little kids are fun to work with,'' he said. ``They can learn a lot in a short amount of time.''

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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