Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Book Buddies Bind Classrooms

Book buddies bind classrooms.(News)
Article from:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Article date:March 18, 2006Author:Jenco, Melissa More results for:jeanine nicarico Literacy

Byline: Melissa Jenco Daily Herald Staff Writer

The bridge between Prairie and Bardwell elementary schools is paved with books.

Bardwell second-graders traveled from their Aurora school to meet their book buddies Friday at Prairie in Naperville.

Jean Carson's Prairie students have been exchanging books and journals throughout the year with students at Bardwell, her alma mater, as a way to promote literacy at the two schools.

"Once they've met face to face, the journals will be more meaningful because they'll have a face and a name to go with the ideas that are shared," Carson said.

The book swap is part of a grant she wrote called "Literacy Expeditions: Building Bridges to Bardwell School and Back Again," from the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

"The fund is to reach out to the community and to spread literacy throughout the community and this is certainly a wonderful way of doing it," said Pat Nicarico, Jeanine's mother.

Prairie welcomed their counterparts with "Bardwell Let's Read" and "Let's Have Fun Together" signs.

Bardwell students toured the school and shared music class, lunch and recess with their book buddies. They also read books together and created more journal entries consisting of their reactions to the books and drawings of their favorite scenes.

"They've had access to additional literacy that's being shared. They have authentic learning experience writing for their peers in the journals," Carson said. "They're sharing insights on literacy, they're getting to know each other and they're serving as mentors for each other."

Her students learned the value of reading different types of books.

"(We become) better writers and become more fluent and we become better readers," Prairie second-grader Joe Hacker said.

They also learned the importance of sharing.

"Because they might not know these books and we have a chance to share what we have," Prairie second-grader Sahitya Padmanabhan said.

Bardwell teacher Sharon Lipson said her students get excited whenever a new box of books arrives from Prairie.

"They want to take the books out of the box and read them because they also like to look back and see what other kids wrote," Lipson said.

In May, Prairie students will travel to Bardwell to see what school is like for their book buddies. Bardwell also will receive two sets of classroom books as a gift from the foundation.

Prairie students exchanged books last year with Hermes Elementary School in Aurora.

"We want students to know books can bring people together," Carson said.