Inter-Generational Reading Buddies: A Mini-Grant Story

This mini-grant story features Ms. Richardson and her 2017-18 class of 2nd grade students from Coopersville, MI. 

"I believe it's important to teach kids that they all have something to give, especially their time and talents," she said. "I also want to instill in them that even though they are young, they can make a difference in others' lives. In our culture today, it so easy to get caught up in the busyness of our personal lives that we forget to notice the needs of those around us." 

After receiving a mini-grant from Learning to Give, Ms. Richardson taught the lesson Building Sensitivity & Awareness to prepare students with simulations of reduced hearing or mobility for the project coined Inter-Generational Reading Buddies where students would interact throughout the school year with residents of a retirement home 

Each visit was both educational, as well as social in nature, and the students' reflections say it all 

  • Jacob: "I will never forget how fun it was and how nice they were."  
  • Grace: "Some of my favorite memories at Fountain View are playing bingo with the residents. I will never forget the time we trick-or-treated with the residents. I lived going to Fountain View because we did reader's theater plays. I really liked us going to Fountain View."  
  • Jeffery: "When we went to Fountain View we did reader's theater plays and played bingo with the residents. And it was really fun because my great grandma lives there."  
  • Tessa: "Thank you for the money to go to Fountain View. I will never forget the first time I went to Fountain View. All of the residents are my friends."  
  • Skylar: "Thank you for making it possible for us to go to Fountain View because we did reader's theater plays (Dr. Seuss plays and fairy tales) and I loved going trick-or-treating. It was fun." 

For Ms. Richardson, the way the students opened up and became more comfortable sharing stories about their school and lives after each visit made it all worth it. "Even though there was significant academic/reading growth, the social-emotional outcomes were even greater," she reflected. " I enjoyed watching the students grow in their maturity, especially in their interactions with our Fountain View friends." 

The Learning to Give mini-grant grant funds allowed for Ms. Richardsons' students to be aware of the elderly population in their community. It also helped them learn that they can make inter-generational friendships and share their time and talents with others.