Fourth Graders Build Skills and Confidence in Pilot Program

Team Read 4 started with a question – what about the 3rd graders who aren’t reading at grade level at the end of the Team Read program? Can we do something more to help them? From that challenge, Team Read developed a new model centered around the essential one-on-one teen coaching model that makes Team Read unique, but with some new features specifically for 4th graders.

The first 15 minutes of Team Read 4 set it apart from the original 2-3 grade program, with a specific time for community building and “kudos” built into the beginning of the schedule. Student readers and teen coaches sit together to celebrate individual accomplishments like, “I, Nickledge, want to celebrate my coach, Catie, for helping me when I get stuck on tricky words!”  Or, “I, Joanna, want to celebrate my reader for having the stamina to finish a chapter book!”

Site coordinators then read aloud a short book, modeling coaching techniques for teen coaches, while also giving student readers a chance to improve their comprehension of complex, grade level stories.

Team Read 4 also encourages student readers to focus on chapter books. Success in 4th grade requires students to follow a story line across chapters, and often without the support of pictures. Team Read student readers read aloud to their coaches from chapter books of their choice to learn new vocabulary and monitor their comprehension

Team Read 4 students use picture books to practice reading fluency and expression, and prepare for read alouds with Team Read students and coaches in the 2nd and 3rd grade program. Team Read 4 students have been said reading to younger kids is “creepy” and they would “never do that again!” However, by the last read aloud of the year, both readers and coaches declared the experience a success, feeling more comfortable showing off their reading skills with the 2nd and 3rd graders.

At the end of the year, Team Read 4 student readers have developed reading skills and as importantly, self-esteem and confidence. Coaches have acquired new skills as well, learning effective reading strategies and the kinds of questions that will push their readers’ thinking. With hard work and dedication, readers who were reluctant to pick up chapter books, have now finished several.  With improved fluency and comprehension comes a joy in reading.