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First graders partner with MMU students to practice reading and math skills

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HARTINGTON — Hartington-Newcastle first graders and Mount Marty University preservice teachers are collaborating in the “Read Buddy” program once again.

This program started at HNS in the 2019-2020 school year. The MMU “Read Buddy’’ program consists of Elementary Education, Special Education or college students with similar majors meeting with elementary grade students through Zoom.

MMU students spend 15-20 minutes reading and interacting with first graders two times a week.

“During the time spent with the students I am assigned to work with, I am able to help out the teachers with various tasks such as fluency readings, math facts, and emotional check ins,” Hallie Parker said.

Parker is a sophomore at MMU, and a member of the read buddy program.

Parker confessed she would have liked to have a field placement in person as usual, but she is also glad to have this new alternative program.

First graders have also enjoyed this experience.

“I read and I play word games and math games with Brylee [Poston] and my college buddy Emma,” first grader Emerson O’Brien said. “My favorite part is when I get to do the math dice game.”

First grade teacher Monica Kathol sees the value in the program.

“It’s helpful that they get to have one-to-one experience or practice with their college buddy who listens and provides some immediate feedback,” Kathol said. “It’s also another opportunity to get help with a skill that is applicable to their needs.”