GRADE five students at Lauderdale Primary School have volunteered to train as reading coaches as part of the school’s Reading Club to help grade one and two students improve their reading skills.
Reading Club was organised by Lauderdale Primary School learning support teacher Dianne Vickers, with 50 grade five students pairing up with 64 keen grade one and two students.
The club coaching provides a leadership opportunity where coaches work with their reading buddy once or twice a week, making a commitment to assist a younger student for the entire year.
Ms Vickers said it was wonderful to see relationships strengthen as the year progressed.
“We are a huge school with 700 students, so it is fantastic witnessing the younger students’ excitement in seeing their coach around the school or hearing stories of coaches watching out for their buddies in the playground,” Ms Vickers said.
Ms Vickers said there had been a real buzz around the school as reading coaches worked with their grade one and two buddies inside and outside the school buildings.
The program was supposed to commence before the COVID-19 pandemic, but was postponed until June, with student coaches excited to begin.
“When I was in grade one, my coach helped me be a better reader,” Georgie said.
“I know I can be a good coach and really help my buddy.”
Training sessions have focused on what skills the grade five students use as readers so they can assist beginners to develop successful reading strategies.
Many of the coaches have commented on how great it has been to relearn the strategies.
Coaches are trained to encourage reading for meaning, where children start to say the sounds of a word, read ahead to the end of the sentence and think, ‘what would make sense here’.
Coaches aim to give their reading buddy at least five seconds thinking time before offering a prompt to puzzle out the word.
Looking closely at pictures for clues and rereading a sentence so that it sounds right are also great reading prompts.
Coaches have said their own confidence has grown with using different reading strategies.
“Training to be a coach has made me a more confident reader,” Wes said.
“Seeing the smile on their faces when they get something right is the best thing about being a reading coach,” Alexis said.
“My buddies say ‘thanks for reading with me today’ and I feel great when they say that,” Hunter said.
Reading Club for prep students runs on four afternoons a week with the learning support teacher, with around half the class attending to read and play literacy games.
Caption: Roman is practicing a reading strategy with his coach Isabella.