Fostering Literacy with Book Buddy Program

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Lynbrook South Middle School seventh-graders in Jeanette Roch and John Christ’s English class recently teamed up with Marion Street Elementary School fifth-graders in Allison Sales and Danialle Nelson’s class during a new Book Buddy program between the schools. Coordinated by Roxanne Migliacci, English department chairperson and Allison Curran, elementary curriculum coordinator, the Book Buddy program allowed the students to work together and form a collaborative book club. 

The program connected to Lynbrook South Middle School’s “Get Lost In A Book” initiative this year, fostering literacy among students. The classes met four times during the program and allowed the seventh-graders to act as reading mentors to the elementary school students. At the first meeting, students and their buddies completed getting to know you exercises about themselves as people and as readers. Each student then independently read the book “Restart” by Gordon Korman which followed with students forming small groups and discussing their experiences reading the book. During their discussions, the students shared the messages that they took away from the novel. Some seventh-graders also recommended other books and gave the fifth-graders an idea of what type of books they would read when they enter the middle school next year.
The classes met again and reconfigured their groups based on interests. They selected service projects such as designing a logo, creating public service announcements, drawing posters and recording videos to share their slogan, “Don’t Be A Bully, Be A Buddy,” a message relevant to the book, “Restart.” 

During their final meeting, the students worked together to complete their projects, which they plan to share districtwide.  

“They are having so much fun and are already asking to do it again,” said Migliacci. “The fifth-graders are looking forward to coming to South Middle School next year because they have made all these new friends.” 

Readers at South Middle School Make A Cultural Connection

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Lynbrook South Middle School students involved in Global Read Aloud, a reading group that allows students to read a common book out loud together, recently had the unique opportunity to speak with students from another part of the world. Facilitated by Library Media Specialist Jennifer Wasielesky, Global Read Aloud meets in three different sections, one for each grade level. 

The first book that the students read together was “Refugee,” by Alan Gratz. “Refugee” focuses on three children’s lives from three different time periods and parts of the world. By the end of the book, their worlds collide. The book is a work of historical fiction, however many of the characters are based on real people.  

After the groups finished the book, Wasielesky coordinated a Skype session (video conference) between the Global Read Aloud students at South and students of a similar age in Greece. The purpose was to learn about a different part of the world, including their culture, traditions and more about the students’ lives. Global Read Aloud students learned that students in Greece live similarly and share common interests.

Global Read Aloud encourages students to think and talk about the world around them, developing a compassion for it. 

South Middle School Students Dance Around the World

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Seventh- and eighth-graders at Lynbrook South Middle School celebrated the beauty of dance and different cultures with a visit from the Phyllis Rose Dance Company on Jan. 18. The two assemblies, titled “Latin and Hispanic Heritage Celebration,” focused on traditional and contemporary dance, music and folklore from Spain and Latin America. 

The Arts-In-Education program allowed students to not only observe the different performances but also get involved. Students and staff were encouraged to dance along with the performers and even join them on the stage to showcase their newly found skills, such as the Tango. Students clapped along, learned the history of the different dances and cheered on the performers.