Third-graders at Springmill STEM share reading with preschoolers

At right, third-grader Jaze’maire Prescott reads “New Friend” to preschool student Savannah DeWitt Monday morning. At left, preschooler Elena Allen listens as third-grader Genesis Anderson reads a different book.

      When you’re in preschool, it’s exciting to have the big kids – the third-graders – come into your room to read to you. That’s exactly what third-graders at Springmill STEM Elementary did Monday morning.

      Once a month Amy Matthes’ third-graders and Maryjo Lux’s preschool class spend time together. It might be a science, math or language arts activity. In the fall they walked in the woods together, the hand of each preschooler firmly in the hand of a third-grader.

      Lux greeted the third-graders at her classroom Monday.

      “Have you been practicing your reading? Your fluency?” she asked.

      Matthes’ students, each clutching a book, smiled and nodded.

      Inside, the students were paired and the reading began, the preschool children eagerly following the stories.

      Matthes and Lux said the interaction has several benefits.

      “As the oldest students in the building the third-graders serve as role models, while instilling an interest in reading among the younger children,” Matthes said.

      Lux said it also instills a “sense of community” within the school.

      “They get to know each other. They recognize each other and wave in the halls,” she said.

      “Reading to the younger children also creates a sense of responsibility among the third-graders,” Matthes said.

      Her students did double duty on Monday. They also read to an afternoon preschool class.

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