Reading pals at Seeds of Learning a monthly treat

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Photos courtesy Melissa Bailey
The youngsters at Seeds of Learning read with second-graders from Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

By Melissa Bailey
Special to The PREVIEW
They sit on the floor, snuggle on couches and curl up on laps. Fascinated children at Seeds of Learning listen intently while a second-grader from Pagosa Springs Elementary School reads a favorite book out loud.
The second-graders were well prepared for their assignments as they showed the younger children the pictures and pointed to words on the pages. They read about slow turtles and furry foxes. They pointed out ferocious dinosaurs with big teeth and carrot-nosed snowmen. They gave their younger pals choices about which book to read next and explained concepts in the stories. Each 4-year-old Ladybug had a reading pal all to themselves and two of them were their big brothers.
Several of the pals were Seeds graduates and enthusiastically greeted Miss Ruby, the pre-K Butterfly teacher.
She proudly noted, “They’ve come back to their old classroom and can see how their skills have developed.”
After sharing books in the class, the reading pals were invited to play educational board games, explore math manipulatives and sample the art supplies. This time builds relationships and social skills in all the children.
Having the “big kids” come read to Seeds and Head Start students monthly is a community service project adopted by the elementary school five years ago.
Lucille Stretton, second-grade teacher, emphasized that the project is important for her students, too, as reading aloud builds confidence in young readers.
Seeds sends a big “thank you” to the second-grade students and their teachers: Stretton, Gina Winther, Kristie Taylor, Lauren Wolford and Kain Lucero. This project is very valuable to the young children at Seeds of Learning. After all, if the “big kids” like to read, it must be something good.