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Real Stories From Real Classrooms Hilary Jo Seitz and Carol Bartholomew Grades 2 and 3 Reading Together: Primary Grade Children Connect With Preschoolers “You can turn the page now.” “Okay. I think it’s gonna be Biscuit’s birthday.” —8-Year-Old Kaya Reading to 3-Year-Old Chloe C Photos courtesy of Hilary Jo Seitz except where noted. 22 hildren learn and build confidence as they interact and converse with more knowledgeable peers in a comfortable environment. Lev Vygotsky (1978) theorized that children use their language experiences to become aware of their own thinking so they can link their ideas to the ideas of others, which serves to expand their thoughts and learning. When second- and third-graders have opportunities to buddy read with preschoolers, children in both age groups feel more successful about their reading abilities. The older children’s reading fluency improves and their attitudes about reading grow more positive. In addition, these children feel more confident in themselves as readers and learners, particularly when learning is presented in fun and meaningful ways. Young children may encounter many hurdles when they are learning to read. For example, some children are easily frustrated when they don’t know a letter combination sound or what a word means. Having enjoyable and positive reading opportunities helps support the process. Children need to master specific phonetic skills, incorporate previous letter and word knowledge, use vocabulary, and connect the meaning of thoughts and ideas (Bennett-Armistead, Duke, & Moses 2005; Pikulski & Chard 2005; Hasbrouck 2006; Morrow & Schickedanz 2006). Children can best master these skills when they have positive experiences—those that are fun and meaningful—and appropriate motivation. A multiage reading opportunity such as buddy reading enhances the learning-to-read process for both the younger and older child. n Young Children March 2014

Reading Together: Primary Grade Children Connect With Preschoolers

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