Annette Ryden, an eighth grade English teacher at Toledo Technology Academy, has multiple objectives for a project she recently started with some students from the nearby McKinley Elementary.

As she thought of her own students, Mrs. Ryden realized that some of them were not reading as well as she would like and she knew the importance of getting young children interested in reading as a key to academic success later in their school careers.

What she came up with was teaming her older TTA students with the younger McKinley students.

Mrs. Ryden says, "More than fifteen students give up their Wednesday study hall period to work with the primary students, who range in age from Pre-K to first grade. Some read outside classrooms, while others read during the McKinley lunch period."

As Gary Thompson, TTA's director puts it, "Having her students be 'book buddies' with the younger McKinley students gave her students a chance to practice reading without it being an assignment - they are simply helping the younger ones."

The project is doing better than even Mrs. Ryden had hoped, Mr. Thompson says.

"It has become a big deal for Mrs. Ryden to assign you as a 'book buddy'," he says. "The students are vying for the privilege. An 8-year-old McKinley student was bragging to me today that he got to read with one of the TTA students."

He added, "So, end result, good partnership, and all of the students are working together on reading."

April Engard, the assistant principal at McKinley, says, "Our students are so excited when they see their book buddies. They all want to be the first to read with them. The book buddies in the cafeteria started reading to two at a time so more children could read. I am very proud to be part of this new partnership. TPS Proud!"

Posted on November 18, 2016