When big brothers and big sisters read to their siblings, the whole family wins.
That’s the idea behind the “Read To Me” Project, which is currently installed at six schools in the Alisal Union School District. The program trains 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students to read to their younger siblings and prepare them for school
“The point of our work is to make sure that young children are read to at home,” said Barbara Greenway, executive director and classroom coordinator for Read To Me. “So when they get to kindergarten, they have all the readiness skills they need – vocabulary, language and concepts ready to go so they can hit kindergarten at full speed.”
Greenway recently lead a training at Bardin School with several classrooms. During the program, she introduced the nine Read To Me rules, including “Read to yourself First,” “Read Alout At least 4 Days,” and “Have Fun!”
Students check out books from their classrooms and take home to read to younger siblings. Greenway said some students are reading to children as young as 8 months.
“The kids really love reading to their borthers and sisters. They feel important,” said Greenway. “They realize they are helping their families and theyre going to help their siblings succeed.”
Read To Me training teaches students about the five senses and how each sense helps to “Light up their brain. When they feel things and hear things, anything they see, it just goes directly to their brain and helps them understand the world.”
The feedback from students is remarkable, she said.
“They’ll come up to me and say “they’re starting to talk now,” or “They’re starting to count now,” Greenway said. “So the children are really excited about what their brothers and sisters are learning.