Learning through Teaching Streamwood High School Teens Help Kids Improve Reading Skills

By Miles, Arlene | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

Learning through Teaching Streamwood High School Teens Help Kids Improve Reading Skills


Miles, Arlene, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Arlene Miles Daily Herald Correspondent

Who says reading can't be fun?

That myth is smashed to pieces each Wednesday at Hanover Countryside Elementary School in Streamwood during special tutoring sessions provided by students from Streamwood High School's Academy program. Each week, second through fifth-graders identified through test scores as needing extra help in reading are tutored by Academy students, who are among the high school's high achievers.

The tutoring program is the brainchild of Academy English instructor Debbvy Fralick, who in addition to teaching, has worked with her students to provide outreach to the community.

"It really began as a Christmas project two years ago when our students provided books for every child at Channing Elementary School," Fralick explains. "My kids wanted to do more, and we knew some of the reading scores were low, but the problem was transportation.

Academy students couldn't go to the schools where they had provided outreach before as those schools were too far away to visit on a consistent basis, but Fralick soon developed another idea. On her way to the school, Fralick determined that only a mile separated Hanover Countryside Elementary and Streamwood High School, definitely a distance that could be traversed on foot. Hanover Countryside Principal Leslie Kleiman jumped at the opportunity.

"We trained them (the Academy students) on how to do this," Kleiman says. "We showed them how to use comprehensive strategies and other techniques."

Fralick also gave her students tools to use while helping their younger counterparts.

"I have them keep a journal to help them to see what's going on when working with the (elementary) students," Fralick notes.

The Academy students are split into three groups: freshman, sophomores and juniors/seniors. The number of students traveling to Hanover Countryside ranges from 40 to 60 each week. Most tutoring is one-on-one though several tutors handle two pupils. Sessions last from 40 minutes to an hour.

"We have a lot of ESL (English as a Second Language) students and we tried pairing them up," says Kleiman, who noted students were matched according to their nationality. "But we didn't think to match their personalities."

However, the pairings have worked out.

Kleiman related how two quiet boys were paired with one another because of their ethnicity. However, what no one knew is that both boys were considered quiet children who don't participate much.

"When they got together, they just came alive, and it has been wonderful to see," Kleiman adds.

Although the program is a weekly event, the student pairings only meet once every three weeks because of the separate groups. …

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