The goal of “Sarah’s Dream: Read With Me!” is to improve literacy and foster cross-cultural friendships between children of neighboring communities. Watch the video below to learn about the program that was co-funded with the PTO.
Read With Me! brings students together from neighboring communities in order to share stories and a love of reading while improving literacy in Lake County, as well as creating a culture of compassion and cooperation among children from different schools. It involves mentorship, friendship, and fun, benefitting students and teachers alike. Books have been selected to reinforce these concepts. In addition, the last selection has been a non-fiction, reference-type book useful for introducing/teaching research skills. Throughout the course of the school year, the students get together three times, typically in October, December, and April. Lake Bluff Elementary School host two of those meetings; Oak Terrace and Clearview host once. This means a field trip to their buddies’ school, which is more often than not a rare chance to see the inside of another elementary school.
The hour-long session consists of: an icebreaker, usually involving an information sheet that the students filled out before their meeting (e.g. an All-About-Me postcard); a healthy snack, book-reading, and a comprehension activity. When it’s time to leave, the third graders get to keep the books they have been reading.
Read With Me impacts all involved and anyone that comes in contact with, or observes the program.
The students, first and foremost are given an opportunity they may not ordinarily experience. Not only do the students get to meet a buddy from another school in a neighboring community, but they also get to be a mentor or a mentee. Students get to help one another learn about being a kind citizen by welcoming someone into their school and hosting the buddy visit. They also share the experience of reading and discussing a book. The 3rd grade buddies are given the book but everyone leaves with new, fond memories and the anticipation of the next visit.
Teachers are impacted. Read With Me builds relationships between teachers and an opportunity for colleagues and professionals in neighboring communities to meet and see their students through a different lens as they engage in conversation with another student.
Visitors to the schools to view the program are impacted by the power of these new relationships and the value reading with a new friend can bring to children.
LBES student testimonials:
“My buddy and I both like math.”- 4th Grade Student LBES
“My partner really like the book and wants to make the nachos recipe in the book.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We both like comic books.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“Me and my partner both like Goosebumps books.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“I learned about my partner’s family. She has one sister.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“I loved and liked it. We have everything in common except our favorite book.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“It was really fun. I found out that we both play soccer.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We had a lot in common. We’ve both been on all the rides at Six Flags.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We all like the same sport — soccer. I told them about a soccer game on my iPod.”4th Grade Student LBES
“We had a really fun time. We didn’t have a lot in common, but opposites attract!” 4th Grade Student LBES.
When asked if anyone felt like they made a new friend today, everyone raised their hand. :) 4th grade teacher. Everyone is also excited about traveling to visit their buddy’s school.
Testimonials from buddy schools
“I wish we could come here every day!” 3rd grade student Clearview