Hebrew Buddies: Senior Kindergarteners Help 6th Graders  with their Hebrew Skills
Rachel Ahitow and Kaitlyn McKenna, SK 108 Teachers
Last week, our Senior Kindergarten students partnered with Ms. Ousley’s 6th grade Hebrew class to give students in each class the opportunity to practice their growing reading skills with each other. Pairing older students with younger students has many benefits for both groups. While our SK students have a growing confidence in their reading skills as they continue building their sight word vocabulary and decoding skills, Ms. Ousley’s Hebrew students are also honing in on their growing Hebrew fluency. Allowing the students to read to one another not only gave them a chance to showcase their increasingly growing skills in a safe space, it also boosted their confidence in Hebrew!
The 6th Grade Hebrew curriculum focuses heavily on increasing verbal fluency. To create a balanced world language class, Ms. Ousley used children's storybooks to deepen the students' Hebrew reading fluency as the stories were both entertaining and accessible. Her students mastered reading their individual storybooks and felt that sharing them with our SK students would be a perfect opportunity to practice these skills.  
The younger students were thrilled to spend time with an older student and to hear a book read to them in Hebrew. They too wanted to showcase their amazing growth in reading this year by reading to their partner. They chose a piece of writing filled with sight words and CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that the students felt comfortable and confident with.  They understood that Ms. Ousley’s class had been working all year to build their Hebrew reading skills, just as kindergarten students had been working to advance their own reading skills. When they heard that the 6th grade students were continuing to learn to read just like they are, it gave them a huge boost of confidence. They also felt comfortable knowing they could ask their older buddy for assistance if they got stuck on a tricky word while reading.  
There seemed to be an immediate connection between each pair as we watched them reading together, laughing together and learning about each other. Both classes look forward to a continued partnership with one another!

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