“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
~ Dr. Seuss
Rare is the child who hasn’t heard or read or memorized a Dr. Seuss book. Rare is the adult who doesn’t remember the first Dr. Seuss book they were able to proudly read on their own. There’s a reason why Dr. Seuss’ stories remain popular generation after generation and why we celebrate this author’s birthday by gathering together to share our favorite books (Dr. Seuss or otherwise) with our friends.
This year, as centers around the country celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday (March 2), one way to honor this most popular author is to start a buddy reading program in which school-age students partner with younger school-age students.
Buddy reading programs enhance the literacy skills of both children – the older child has an opportunity to practice reading aloud to an engaged audience and the younger child gains one-on-one time to practice word recognition and reading comprehension. Buddy reading also teaches older children empathy as they help younger children master skills they themselves learned not long ago.
Before reading time begins, it’s a good idea to give the older children a chance to pick book that’s age-appropriate for their younger buddy. Give the older student an opportunity to read through the book a few times on their own. Pre-reading allows the reader to familiarize themselves with the story, making it not only easier to read aloud, but also giving the older student an opportunity to think about questions they can ask to enhance their buddy’s comprehension of the story.
Buddy reading can also be coupled with a writing project by having the older students reflect on paper their experience. Most importantly, buddy reading allows children of all ages to share in the joy of reading – whether it’s a Dr. Seuss book or another favorite story.