Titan Reading Buddies Club


Cecelia Zombro

Mrs. Rosensteel, Mrs. Kremnitzer

Cecelia Zombro, Editor in Chief

Gather up Ballenger Bobcats and work with a dedicated Tuscarora Titan in story time! But Ballenger isn’t the only elementary school that will get to share this experience! In future events, this club will read to both the Tuscarora Timberwolves and the Orchard Grove Dolphins. The Titan Reading Buddies Club is run by Kierstin Rosensteel, English Instructor, and Amanda Kremnitzer, Literacy Specialist. The first event is on September 30, 2022, at Ballenger Elementary School. The Tuscarora Titans will be working with the Ballenger Bobcats, kindergarten through fourth grade. The activities will include reading with students, math and reading games, and aiding small groups.

What you may be wondering is… what is the goal of this club? Both Instructors were able to answer this question and more!

Mrs. Kremnitzer responded with the following, “Basically, to instill a love of reading into our community. It’s no secret that reading’s been a lost art, recently, in years. But little kids still love picture books and they love stories and they love meeting older students. So this combines all of that. The other aspect of it is it reduces stress, whether or not we want to acknowledge it, kids of all ages are under stress. Even our kindergarteners and first graders, as well as our seniors, who are starting their college applications. So just getting that half hour of interaction and engaging imagination is just going to reduce the stress levels of our students.”

Mrs. Rosenteel gave her opinion as well, “So, our goal for titan reading buddies is to really help build that community that a lot of other high schools in the county get just by being in close proximity. Like Middletown has the whole educational campus. So our hope, here, at Tuscarora, where we’re all spread out, is that we can connect a lot of our high school students with our further schools to start building that sense of community and bringing awareness to all these great things we do here.”

Next, what do you hope Tuscarora students will get out of this experience?

“I hope that they feel fulfilled by giving back to the community. I say it all the time because my boys are always interacting with the soccer program here and I think the really cool thing about that is their idols are within reach. They can go watch them play, they can go talk to them, they know some of those students names and the students know them  and I think that is more important than the Youtube stars or the Tiktok people that our kids aspire to be. So if we can build more of those heroes within our own system then we’re really building a solid community.” Mrs. Kremnitzer exclaimed.

“Honestly, I just want them to have a bright spot in their day because the club members come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and interests as a whole. I also want them to have that connection piece, that chance to relax, and just have fun. Who doesn’t love little kindergarteners who are actually excited for school and so excited to have these older kids come in and come see them. So, we’re excited for them, we hope all of our kids love it and all of the little ones love it too.” Mrs. Rosensteel added.

The biggest question is how will the reading buddies benefit from this experience?

Mrs. Kremnitzer assured, “The students at the elementary schools are really going to benefit from this experience mostly because they’re going to hear more people reading to them. Whenever you hear a fluent reader, you start the work of becoming a fluent reader. But this is particularly important because the students at the high school look like the students at the elementary school, and for a lot of our students, they don’t always get that. So sometimes I’ll interact with a student at the high school who’s gone their whole life without seeing a reader or somebody in a book that looks like them, and this I think is one of those fixes. A kid who looks like me is coming down to read to me and we’re reading about a book that we’re both interested in, and you can’t replace that.”

Mrs. Rosensteel stated, “What we’re hoping for, we have a bunch of different options for our reading buddies, so some classes are doing actual reading where kids will come in and read to the little ones in small groups or a whole group if the teacher wants it done that way. But we also have math groups, we have social studies groups, so our kids can go in and help them with whatever skills they’re learning. But you can also kind of see that as a mentor if we’re coming in more regularly, they’re like, “Oh, I know that person. They’re at Tuscarora, what a great place to be!” Again, building that community, helping them build their skills, through kids, not the adults they’re listening to all day. It will be a great time, a good experience, we’re ready.”

Just for a little bit more information, Mrs. Kremnitzer was asked if there was anything else she wanted to add. “I think we’re at 35 students with permission slips turned in. The schools we’re working with are Ballenger Creek, Tuscarora elementary, and Orchard Grove. Orchard Grove is new, when we did this previously with Ms. Kowalski, she only did Ballenger and Tuscarora. I’m really excited because we have some students that you wouldn’t expect joining reading buddies and that in itself is powerful. We were able to get some books from the Adoptive Teacher program, it was an FCPS Amazon wish list funding thing… and so we got like Amanda Goreman poetry books, and so we went with some classics like Elephant and Pig, but we also went with some social emotional pieces like A Little Spot of Anger so if there is a kid who’s dealing with some anger issues, maybe reading and talking about it  would be good. Same this with sadness, for little kids the pigeon books, but then we wanted to increase the, like Peter Reynolds always does a really great job with inclusion. With some goofy ones like Dragon’s Love Tacos, and I haven’t even gone through all the books we got yet. But there’s more of the SEL kind of books.”

This club is not only reaching Tuscarora Titans but FCPS elementary schools in the county who aspire to be a titan themselves. On that note, it sounds like the perfect time to open up a book and read!