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Readers and Leaders

It’s no secret that many Hanover schools enjoy support from the surrounding community, and Jane Ball Elementary enjoys its share.  The Saddle and Spurs Club Lake County 4H has been a part of literacy enhancement for third graders at Jane Ball for more than half a decade. 

Jane Ball Librarian playing a word game with kids

Jane Ball Librarian Victoria Gianni looks on as Reading Club leader, Shelby Blink guides students through a literacy game.  

Librarian, Victoria Gianni is also the leader of Saddle and Spurs and heavily involved in working with club members on projects that offer opportunities for 4-H members to polish their communication and presentation skills and earn scholarships through the 4-H Ambassadors program.   Mrs. Gianni’s daughter, Josephine first brought the idea of a Reading Club at Jane Ball to her Mom five years ago.  With the support of then Principal, Deborah Snedden and teachers who were able to identify students that needed a little something more to spark their enthusiasm for reading, the Reading Club was born.

Today, the Reading Club is alive and well and has the support of new Principal Ryan Eckart and enjoys a continued collaboration with Jane Ball teachers.   8 to 12 Jane Ball students participate at each of the once a week Reading Club sessions.  Reading Club members are chosen by teachers who believe the program will benefit specific students and the students are then sent an invitation to participate in the club. 

Students in library with mentors

Readers and Leaders enjoy each others company during a Reading Club session. 

“It takes effort to participate as a reader and an equal amount of effort to participate as a leader,” said Mrs. Gianni.

Katja Broberg and Kaitlyn Viehman

4H Member Katja Broberg and Jane Ball student, Kaitlyn Viehman team up for Reading Club.

Lowell High School Freshman and Saddle and Spurs Ambassador Shelby Blink leads the Reading Club and carefully plans out the activities to be shared between the 4-H volunteers and Reading Club members.  Each meeting starts with a literacy game.  One game featured students choosing from a long list of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs that might relate to a specific picture displayed.  As the first picture, a blowfish, was shown students timidly selected words and then somewhat reluctantly used those words in sentences to describe the picture.  The student’s enthusiasm grew with the second picture of a snake and by the third picture of a kitten, students were hopping up and down to choose words and creating sentences came far more easily. 

Reading Club leader Shelby Blink listens to Jane Ball students

Shelby Blink, a Lowell High School Freshman, Saddle and Spurs 4-H Lake County, and Reading Club Leader listens attentively as Jane Ball students choose words to describe a picture.

Shelby Blink and  Ashlyn Pinkul

Ashlyn Pinkul places her picture identifying word on the Board as Shelby Blink looks on.  Students received a sticker for every word they found to describe each photo.

After the game, 4-H volunteers from Hanover schools, Lake Central, Lowell and home schooled students paired up with Reading Club members to read books that are selected by both teachers and students.  If time allows, Shelby concludes each Reading Club meeting by reading aloud to the students. 

In four short weeks the biggest benefit is not necessarily an improvement in reading skills, but a positive and enthusiastic attitude toward reading.  Reading Club members leave with the power of positivity and know that they can share their experience in the Club with classmates and continue to grow their ability to read and better comprehend what they read.

Mrs. Gianni points out that it’s a pretty simple formula for success.  “Big kids love working with little kids and 4-H members can take their passion and interest in serving the community to a whole new level that benefits Jane Ball students.”  

Take a look at our students and their partners as they enjoy a little reading comraderie!

Leslie Hoover and Erlyne Long

Leslie Hoover and Earlyne Long

John Nelson and Kaden Smith

John Nelson and Kaden Smith

Cassidy Willborn and Sienna Cohen

Cassidy Willborn and Sienna Cohen

Cody Moen and Cullen Leroy

Cody Moen and Cullen Leroy

Lilly Smith and Trista Newcomb

Caroline Donaldson and Cory Clemons

Lilly Smith  and Trista Newcomb

Lilly Smith and Trista Newcomb

Colleen Donaldson and Max Bryne

Colleen Donaldson and Max Bryne

Ashlyn Pinkul and MacKenzie Smith

Ashlyn Pinkul and Mackenzie Smith

Kaitlyn Viehman and Katja Broberg

Kaitlyn Viehman and Katja Broberg