All year we have had fifth graders come in on Friday mornings to read with our children. I don't know if the fifth graders enjoy it as much as our kids, but our kids "whoop and holler" as the fifth graders walk in. A few weeks ago we decided to ask the fifth graders to read the comprehension passage with their first grade friends that the first graders have been practicing at home all week before they were tested on the passage. For a few of the children, it's the only "extra" read they get because their parents don't do it at home, but for ALL of them it's a time when they try very hard because they want to impress their older friend. Then the fifth graders make up questions they can ask the younger students, testing the younger children's comprehension.
As I watching them today, I was impressed with how hard the first graders were working and how hard the fifth graders were trying to think up questions that would be first grade worthy. Then I started thinking about how many of my first graders had asked for writing conferences this week and how it never seemed like I could catch up. Then I realized that I was looking at the answer. The first graders could read their writing each Friday to their older partner! Not only would it be good practice for the fifth graders to listen and ask the writer questions to help him revise, but it would give the first graders an audience for their work! Why haven't I ever thought of this before! Duh! Can't wait for next week!