Southmoreland 'Reading Buddies' program ends year with party
It's been a common occurrence throughout the school year — students from Southmoreland High School getting together with their counterparts from the Southmoreland Primary Center on a Friday afternoon for a reading session.
Since May 30 was the last Friday of the school year a little party was involved.
This outdoor “Reading Buddies” party was the culmination of a full year of reading activities.
Primary center students also took part in a full-scale reading Olympics, in which they amassed 345,189 reading minutes.
Reading Olympics was revamped to emphasize reading throughout the year and help to nurture a lifelong love of reading and learning.
Olympic “medals” were awarded to students for how much time they spent reading. If a kindergarten student amassed 1,250 minutes of reading, a gold medal was awarded, 1,000 led to a silver and 750 a bronze. For first-grade students, the numbers were 2,500 for a gold, 2,000 for a silver and 1,500 for a bronze.
Eighty-six students earned gold medals (49 kindergarten students and 37 first-graders), 39 earned silver, (21 kindergarten and 18 first grade) and 48 garnered bronze (16 kindergarten and 32 first grade).
“It's worked nicely to incorporate the ‘Reading Buddies' for the whole year,” said Patti DeBiasio, primary center reading specialist. “We had a lot of involvement from the community, the parents. We had readers from the community. That we have the collaboration from the high school is incredible.”
“At first we were worried about the minutes (the students would read),” added fellow reading specialist Amy Pushkis. “At the end, we noticed over half of the children medaled, so it's working.”
“Reading Buddies” took a different approach in its second year, beginning at the onset of the school year.
“To see them kind of progress throughout the year and actually read the books to their reading buddies is really incredible,” said high school language arts teacher Jenna Hixson. “It's amazing to see the bonds since some kids have had the same reading buddies all year long. It's nice seeing the relationship that they've built.”
Sophomore Samantha Gray has been with the kindergarten trio of Gage Yaroscak, Levi Graft and Gabe Overly throughout the year.
“I had all my stuff bought and have been looking forward to this for so long,” she said. “When I go home I'll probably cry.”
Many high school students brought books as gifts for their young friends since it was the last time they would be getting together for the year.
“We just have a lot of really dedicated students,” Hixson said. “The only dedication they really need is knowing they're making a difference. So many of them want this mentor position.”
Freshman Haley Rollinson was among the 50 or so high school students enjoying the day
“I just love kids,” she admitted. “They're great. They make me so much happier.”
Rollinson was spending the time with McKenzie Thompson, a first-grader, with whom she was been with a lot this year. “She's great,” Thompson said of Rollinson. “I like to read with her. She's the best.”
Hearing Thompson say that moved Rollinson.
“I'm going to miss you,” she said to her friend with whom she plans to stay in touch. “I'm going to get emotional. It's kind of sad, but I know we're going to have new kids next year. We're just going to get to keep going with the program next year, I hope. It‘s really great. Reading is really important.”
Sophomore Briana Bunner said she got involved to be of help to the younger kids.
“I felt it would benefit them in a great way,” she said. “I know some of these kids may have issues at home. I think it benefits them. We just want what's better for the children.”
Pushkis has noticed the budding relationships, especially with the way the younger students look up to their older colleagues whom they view as role models
“They're so excited,” Pushkis said. “A couple times, we didn't have it because of the weather and they were so disappointed. For the high school students, it really is a enlightening experience.”
Dan Clara, primary center principal, beamed with pride with all of the reading accomplishments of his students and the work in conjunction with the high school.
“What really helps kids become better readers is to see others reading and model it for them and share with them why it's so good to do,” Clara said. “Having little ones work with our older ones is really good for them to see someone model that behavior. What's good for the older ones is many of them may be thinking they want to go into the profession of teaching or they may want to do something where they're helping others and this is their first experience when they're doing something selflessly just for the sake of doing it.”
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Paterno son, another ex-football assistant coach suing PSU
- Wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2013 accident
- Man shot and killed in Homewood
- Allegheny County warns of uptick in Lyme disease cases
- MLB notebook: Yankees acquire Headley from Padres
- Wolf says he’ll work with state legislature to deal with pension woes
- Portion of house collapses in Aliquippa, no injuries
- Montana judge censured over rape case comments
- Officials to limit tailgating before Jason Aldean concert at PNC Park
- Hosannas for nonprofit helping to fix Tarentum man’s house
- Cyber domain is next battleground, authors of 9/11 report warn