Houghton College students have been engaging Fillmore grade school students in a new tutoring initiative called Book Buddies, which is designed to help promote and improve literacy.
The new Book Buddies program, which began earlier this year, allows Houghton College students the opportunity to go into elementary classrooms, read to students and have the younger students read back.
This program is a work-study program. Greg Bish, the associate dean for student involvement and leadership program explains, “The college receives federal work study monies, and some of those funds are used on tutoring initiatives,” he said.
Houghton College students travel to Fillmore twice each week, one group on Tuesdays and another group on Thursdays.
The purpose of the program is to support reading in the local schools at the elementary level. “Tutors provide teachers with the opportunity to have college students work one-on-one with grade school students,” Bish said. Often times, the Houghton College students just act as listeners as the younger students read to them.
Nancy Walters, first-grade teacher at Fillmore Central School, originally worked with Bish to create the six-week program of reading tutors. “This program is great for our students,” Walters said. “It allows them to have extra help and interaction with another interested adult.”
Rachel Woodworth, a Houghton College junior intercultural studies major with a concentration in international development and a minor in education, is a part of this new program. “I was motivated by a love for learning and for literacy,” she said. “Also, I just really love kids and am always on the lookout for some new extracurricular adventures.”
The Houghton College students arrive around 8 a.m. and talk with the children as they settle into the classroom before beginning the one-one-one reading time with them, “listening as they read, to give them practice reading aloud independently,” Woodworth said.
For Woodworth, the biggest part of this program is getting hands-on experience in an elementary classroom. In addition, she gets the opportunity to spend time in the community connecting with the children and teachers. “This is a joy,” she said.
Commenting on the college students coming, Walters said, “They were allowed to view education through the eyes of young learners from various backgrounds.”
“Reading, I hope, is becoming a fun activity that the kids enjoy as they become more and more confident reading on their own and with peers,” Woodworth said.