This month I’ve invited parents of grade 5 students to visit with me, tour the Holford Learning Commons and hear about the middle school program. Of special interest are parts of the program that work to build a bridge between the “small nest” of a “contained” lower school classroom and the “bigger nest” of the middle school.
We have started to build the bridge directly with the students this winter. The fifth and sixth graders are meeting periodically to enjoy book groups together. Literacy skills improve when there is social learning connected to the reading. Talking about what you read helps you see patterns that make themes develop. The characters and their situations come alive through conversation.
Students were invited to form groups based on shared book choice. In this way, even students who don’t know each other, immediately have something in common.Unlike an adult book group, some of the time students are together is spent in actually reading the books they’ve chosen in common.
As they finish books, students will decide how they want to share their book with the entire fifth and sixth grades.
As one fifth grader put it, “Book groups make me more comfortable being with the older kids.”