Program unites kindergarteners, ISU students in celebration of reading

November 20 2008

Ashley Jones lifted her blonde head and said, "Call E," before darting forward to pick up the letter written on a baseball cap-shaped cutout off of the floor.

"I'm beating you," the giggling kindergartener at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School said to the Indiana State University student with whom she was playing the game.

Across the room, after listening to "I am an Apple"Andy Robinson responded to an ISU student's question of how an apple grows by arranging pictures from seeds to a tree, buds, flower and then an apple. He shyly ducked his head as he said he liked learning about apples as he clutched a red one in his hand.

Elsewhere, kindergarten students blew bubbles, sewed pockets and played a spaghetti game as part of the Book-Talk-Tea program Tuesday morning (Nov. 18) during which teams of ISU elementary education majors introduced the kindergartners to new and classic books through various games and activities that incorporate math, science, art and reading.

"We want to whet their palate on these books," said Lisa Cutter, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education at Indiana State. "It's our favorite day because it's interactive. They don't realize they're learning when they are having fun."

ISU students in Cutter's emergent literacy class spend 70 minutes one day a week during the semester working with their kindergarten reading buddies to help them become better readers. In the morning session, kindergarteners enjoyed 15 books, while 12 different books were presented in an afternoon session. During the Book-Talk-Tea program, which is held once a semester, the college students were able to meet with all of the kindergartners.

"It's cool to see the different ability levels," said Courtney Cooper, a junior elementary education major from Greenwood, who led the sewing activity with the book "Hole in my Pocket." "We work with one student every week but here we get to see the diversity of the different levels."

Ashlynn Stephens, who was reading "On Top of Spaghetti," agreed.

"When you're in a classroom you don't really notice it, but when you work with them one-on-one you realize every kid learns in different ways," said the junior elementary education major from Monon.

Cindy Andrews, Franklin kindergarten teacher, said her students are excited to meet with the ISU students.

"They'll come back in the classroom and want to tell me what they did, all 17 of them at one time," she said. "When children are excited, that's when learning takes place."

The program also allowed the kindergarten students to spend the morning receiving individual attention as well as reading lots of books.

"They have the opportunity to listen to 16 different stories that have activities," Andrews said. "That's a wonderful way to spend the morning immersed in literacy. In our daily schedule they may hear three stories."

At another station, Jones sat at a table with a pink marker in her hand as she heard a story on bugs.

"It's fun because it's about bugs," she said.

Making books fun makes reading fun, according to Jarrod Vanzo, a junior elementary education major from Sullivan, who read "Six Dinner Sid."

"The stereotype is that kids don't want to read," he said. "But if adults are willing to make it fun for them, the kids are going to eat it up."

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Contact: Lisa Cutter, Indiana State University, assistant professor of elementary, early and special education, 812-237-2587 or lcutter@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, 812-237-7972 or at jsicking@indstate.edu

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/419809302_JFCJw-D.jpg

Cutline: Ashley Jones, 5 and kindergartner at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School demonstrates how to jump like a toad for ISU juniors and elementary education majors Whitni Hall and Hannah McDonald as part of Book-Talk-Tea.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/419811286_FBPdj-D.jpg

Cutline: Jarrod Vanzo, an ISU junior elementary education, reads Six Dinner Sid to 5-year-old Andy Robinson, a kindergartner at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

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Story Highlights

Kindergarten students blew bubbles, sewed pockets and played a spaghetti game as part of the Book-Talk-Tea program Tuesday morning (Nov. 18) during which teams of ISU elementary education majors introduced the kindergartners to new and classic books through various games and activities that incorporate math, science, art and reading.

Bookmark and Share