Washougal High School Childhood Development students recently got up close and personal with understanding childhood literacy.
“As an assignment, my high school students were required to bring an age appropriate book for a literacy field trip to Gause Elementary,” Rachel Webb, WHS childhood development teacher, explained. “The idea is to encourage literacy across the district through our older students reading to our elementary students.
The students visited Erin Darling’s classroom where they read to the second graders, and then the younger students read to them.
“I could sense that the kids liked the independence they showed by reading to us,” WHS senior Emily Perkins said. “It was cute to see them excited about what they were doing on their own. They were proud to show the big kids what they could do.”
There was also a lesson in not always getting things right. “Sometimes my brain reads faster than my mouth and I messed up reading aloud a couple times,” admitted Hannah Couture, a sophomore. “It was good for the kids to see a big kid mess up reading too.”
Sophomore Sidney Childers was impressed at the reading level of one of the students she worked with.
“He was so proud that he could read a big chapter book,” she said. “It was a huge National Geographic book about jaguars. I was amazed.”
In addition to giving encouragement to the young readers, the older students hoped they left a lasting impression.
“I hope we made an impact on them and they will remember this experience so when they are in high school they will do this for younger students,” Couture said.
Several WHS students agreed, recalling instances when they were young readers and interacted with older students, and how inspirational that experience was.
“I had a reading buddy when I was in the second grade and now I get to be that big kid helping,” sophomore Brooke Otto said. “It is important for the little kids to understand that older kids like to read too. It’s not just something they are expected to learn right now, but something they will enjoy. You are never too old to read!”
Webb noted that field trips such as these are what the term “lifelong learning,” is about.
“It is a field trip they will always remember because of the excitement of all students and the impact they made on each other’s lives,” Webb said.