VIDEO: New and experienced Cordova readers benefit from unique partnership
Video and story by
Sydney Northcutt, FCUSD Communications Internship Program
The unlikeliest of friendships are blossoming in Room 13.
Students are playing the role of teacher and engaging students a decade younger
than them. Every Friday Cordova High
School teacher Suzanne Borth walks across the street with her second period
English intervention class to Cordova Gardens Elementary School. For about half
an hour, her students get the opportunity to read to elementary students.
The benefit for both parties is mutual. Ninth and tenth
grade students enrolled in Borth’s intervention classes are struggling readers,
so the opportunity to practice their reading skills in a fun and relaxed environment
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is their increase in
confidence,” says Borth, “I also have noticed that they are teaching reading
when they read now. . . I see them pointing out sight words and having kids
sound them out and having kids use visual literacy to predict what’s happening
in the story.”
Ninth grader Keith Ferrell agrees that he has noticed
positive differences in his reading because of the program. “I just like
reading to people. . . It gets your boost of confidence up,” said Ferrell.
The elementary students, who vary from grade to grade each
week, are all at different levels of their reading development. Some enjoy
reading chapter books, such as third grader Donavan Branch, while others are working
on their sight word skills. Third grader Danica Chambers likes learning new
vocabulary from her high school friends.
“If I don’t know what a big word is they can help me spell
it out and tell me what it is,” Chambers said.
Kristi Zampieri, Intervention Specialist at Cordova Gardens,
was the link between the high school and the elementary school. After Zampieri
and Borth met at a coaching meeting and Borth proposed the idea of bringing her
kids to read at the elementary school, Zampieri jumped on board and quickly had
a schedule in place.
Zampieri recognized the benefit of the elementary students
getting a personal reading session. She said, “By having those teenagers come
over and reading with them one on one versus with the whole class it just creates
a bond between the kids that they look forward to.”