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Students help young students to read

June 26, 2012 2:25:54 PM PDT
At PS/IS 206 in Brooklyn, some eighth graders spend part of their lunch hour in a program that began in February. The middle schoolers help kindergarten, first and second graders learn to read.

"I feel like very accomplished, like, helping them...like they depend on us," student Nick Buoba said.

The young tutors are volunteers, recruited and trained by literacy coach Ali Giordano.

"So it gave them a sense of empowerment and they felt like leaders and teachers themselves, and they were thrilled to just sit with the students and be their teachers," Giordano said.

"I feel good because when they go on, they learn more and just not from what they learn in the classroom," student Zaria Bayley said.

The younger kids have advanced in their reading levels since working with the eighth graders.

"They're more connected sometimes than we as adults are because we're accomplished readers and we forget the little things that really make it more easy to read," principal Deirdre Keyes said.

The system works for little Sophia.

"Because I can learn how to read more good and I can go to a bigger level," Sophia Garcia said.

It is obviously unselfish for the older students to volunteer their free time to help the younger ones, but the volunteers say there are also advantages for them.

"Because you get to, like, teach them what they'll need when they grow up," Gloria Cao said.

"I like it because I just like spending time with kids and like helping out? helping them out," Daniella Tanskiy said.

The reading program will be expanded at the school next year.

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