Enhancing Learning through Cross Age Support

Close up of a bookCross age tutoring provides a powerful tool in supporting learning within Bright P-12 – not only has it had real benefits for the younger students, it has had significant impact on the learning and engagement of the secondary students involved.

The idea of a cross age learning approach was developed by one of our year seven English teacher’s concerned about two of her students who were working below the expected level and really struggling with their reading. The student’s were not enjoying reading and finding it difficult to select books from the library and displayed a lack of interest.

She then decided to get together with another staff member within the school, a grade three and four teacher and discuss the possibility of having her two year seven students hear reading in a grade three and four class.  Both teachers could see the benefits for their students and it actually enabled the students in year 3 and 4 to read to someone more frequently.

Peer Reading Program Bright P12 CollegeIt was not intended to be a formal arrangement and the hope was that the two year seven students would hear the student read, take note of fluency and develop a liking for the initiative. Since the program has begun it has received goof  feedback from the participating students. It is a program the school is intending to develop across the 5-8 year levels.  Being designed for those students who require some assistance with their reading or early intervention students within the primary area, the program has also had a positive impact on the year seven students reading ability and engagement in their learning. The school is now looking to formalise the program for next year and collect data to measure the success of the program.

Reflections of the year seven students

When I go down to the room she gets her book and we sit out on the couch in the corridor and she starts reading. With some of the words I have to help her, give her 5 seconds to know the word if she does not know it I ask her to sound it out and look at the first letter.  If she still cant get it I tell her what it is and she repeats the word.

I think she is reading better now as she is being heard read more often, she likes reading to me.

I think it has helped my reading a little bit, I can recognise more high frequency words, and it has helped me read more fluently. I like it.

I go into the classroom and he comes up to me and we go and read. I never have to remind him, he sees me coming. I listen to him read and when he gets one word wrong I correct him. Sometimes he sounds out words he doesn’t know. It’s good because I know all the words he reads so I can help him if he needs it. Sometimes he will get a word wrong when reading but continues to read, I then ask him to go back and read that page.

I think his reading is getting better, he is making less mistakes and he likes reading to me.

The utilization of cross age tutoring is a great example of staff and students across the P-12 working together for the benefit of all the students and early indications show that that learning of both the younger and older students have been enhanced and the older students have been re engaged in their learning.

The Program

The program began with staff identifying the reading level of the younger students using PROBE. After a discussion with the secondary teacher, links were developed with suitable older students to support the development of the younger students learning. It was important to take into consideration both parties needs and levels of fluency and confidence.  This was of high importance.

It was then decided that one of the Year 7 students would be comfortable supporting a Year 3 student and the other student was more confident supporting a grade 1 student. With the whole purpose of it being an enjoyable one for all parties and one where successes can be seen daily.

Since mid term three when the program began, at the beginning of every year seven English class the older students go down to the classes and hear the younger students read. The year seven students keep a simple log about the reading, where they rate the younger students reading fluency, and write a small comment if needed. The students are encouraged to talk about the book and also give the readers feedback.

Image Credits