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Tutoring Elective Making a Difference in the Lives of Young Students

This semester, twenty-one seventh graders and one eighth grader are participating in a tutoring elective at Buena Vista Horace Mann (BVHM) Community School—a Title 1 school—where they engage with, and read to, the second grade students in Mrs. Maria Emma Pleitez’s class. This elective was coordinated by Judaic studies teacher Jody Bloom and the Jewish Coalition for Literacy (JCL), after the seventh graders last year asked for a way to make a difference in the community. Ms. Bloom was overjoyed by the success of the elective in the spring, and decided to make it available to students again this fall. Our students have each been paired up with one buddy for the entire semester, during which they read, write, and engage with one another each week.

“Going to BVHM and watching our students work with their 2nd graders one-on-one is my favorite time of the week,” says Ms. Bloom. “My heart is filled with pride watching our seventh graders engage [with] children. Our students are living and breathing social justice, and I am proud to be their guide.”

The students in this elective received two hours of tutor training by JCL: this training taught our students how to read with second language learners (BVHM is a Spanish immersion school), what expressions and emotions to use, how to be patient, and many other reading techniques. When asked why he chose this elective, student Gabe C.-R. replied, “I love working with younger kids and doing something to help other people.”

 “The kids love it,” says BVHM second grade teacher Mrs. Pleitez. “They skip their recess to be with their buddies and they don’t even notice! They are so engaged.”