Students learning English at Garth Webb Secondary School in Oakville enjoyed reading to elementary students the short stories they wrote as part of their class.
Garth Webb teacher Kelly Mactaggart explained that 12 secondary school students visited Emily Carr Public School on March 28 to read to Grade 1 and 2 students the stories they wrote and illustrated as part of their short story unit.
“The assignment was to incorporate a life lesson for a child that reflected one of their own values,” said Mactaggart. “It was important the older and younger students could have that connection. Overall, it made the assignment more fun for the students.”
Kyla Marino, teacher at Emily Carr Public School, said the activity proved to be inspirational for all involved.
“I always encourage opportunities to share within our community. It is fantastic for young learners to be inspired by older students. This helps them to set goals and foster their own creative ideas. We have many students from various countries in our class, so it is a great opportunity to interact with others who also speak another language.”
Marino said students learned a lot through this peer reading exercise. She appreciated the comprehension and reflection questions many of the English Language Learner (ELL) students had prepared.
“It was interesting for our primary students to see how stories can come to life with sketches or computer technology,” she said, noting the younger students said the stories were "funny," "creative," and "interesting."
“It was evident a lot of work went into the stories and it was wonderful to see the pride the ELL students had in their creation,” Marino said. “This experience was a memorable one.”
An important part of the ELL program is affirming to ELL students that they have a unique skill set speaking multiple languages and adapting to a new culture, Mactaggart said. The ELL students arrived in Canada within the last year.