Golden K Listeners Finish 2nd Year

Ames Golden K has just completed our second year working with elementary children in the Golden K Listeners Program.  Those shown served.  They are— Rear, left to right: Don Muff, Dennis Smith, Dick Wilson, Pete Peterson. Front, left to right: Bruce Wight, Bob Sperry and Larry Trede. Not pictured: Kent Ziebell and Keith Folkmann.

Beginning with the 2015-16 School Year, Ames Golden K volunteers, have helped Edwards School 1st Grade teachers improve the reading proficiency of their students. Noticing the positive results obtained from the 1st Grade class, Principal David Peterson and his staff asked Golden K to expand this program to include Edwards Kindergarten students for the 2016-17 School Year.

The Golden K volunteers, at the direction of the Edwards School Kindergarten and First Grade teachers, are primarily  “Listeners” to the first graders to assist them in improving their reading abilities.  Golden K member Larry Trede remarked: “Working with 1st graders for the last two years has been an extremely worthwhile experience. It was very satisfying to see the improvement in the reading ability of the students from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  They became more confident in their ability to sound out words and reading stories or passages above their assigned level of reading.”  Golden K member Pete Peterson added “As a Listener, I could tell that the 1st Graders word pronunciation, rhythm, and expressiveness showed improvement as the school year went by. We gave the students an opportunity to practice reading out loud to a willing set of ears. It was fun for both the students and myself.”

Golden K member Bob Sperry assisted students in the Kindergarten class after their teachers had evaluated the skills and ability of each student with letters, sounds, numbers and other basics.  Bob commented that “the teachers devised learning games to be used with individuals  or a small group (2 to 5) to focus on their particular deficient areas and have fun at the same time. It was very effective, instilled a little competitive spirit and soon, they were putting simple 2-3 letter words together and able to begin reading. Then a combination of more advanced learning games and reading to us was used to further sharpen their skills.  As you might imagine, some kindergartners  were doing quite well  and some were still working with pretty basic  reading, but all had advanced considerably from where they began the year.”  Golden K member Kent Ziebell observed ” I really looked forward to seeing and working with the Kindergartners each week.  They are so honest, love playing games, and are eager to learn.  And they never failed to make   me laugh. What I am saying is that working with the kids is as much fun for us older people {many of whom have grandchildren} as it is for the kids.    It gives us a purpose and makes us feel that we are helping. By the end of the year it was amazing and so rewarding to see how much the kids had progressed.”