Old Fort students in Misty Trembath’s class are working on their reading skills by having their own stuffed friend participate with them.

The project called, “My Teddy & Me,” works to give Trembath’s first-graders confidence in their reading by having someone there to listen.

“A lot of these kids don’t have people to read to, and often they don’t like to read to each other because they are just learning, so I invested in the teddy bears and they read to their bear,” said Trembath. “The bear is not going to critique them.”

Each child has a bear with his or her name engraved, and the students have also given them their own name. Although it may seem like students might get distracted by their bears, Trembath said there are rules that go along with them.

“They know these are tools and not toys. The responsibility has increased because they know that it’s theirs,” she said. “It’s really held them accountable and made them have ownership.”

Students Madi Frazier and Kelsey Branton love spending time with their reading bears.

“She keeps me company whenever I read and keeps me comfortable whenever I’m on the hard floor,” said Frazier, who named her bear “Sarah”.

Branton named her bear “Valentine.”

“The coolest thing about having a bear to read with is that you get to read together,” she said.

The two friends even learned a little something about each other they didn’t know during their reading time that day.

“We both have two things in common,” said Frazier. “We are both seven and we both like chapter books.”

Danny Sweatt said he likes to read sports books with his bear he named “Derick” after one of his classmates.

“It helps me read good,” he said about his bear.

Trembath funded this project out of her own pocket, but said many of her class projects get funded by community support through donorschoose.org.

“We are trying to push (donorschoose.org) in this county because teachers can go in and write projects up and other people can fund them,” she said. “I bought the bears, but with donorschoose.org, I haven’t had to put a whole lot in my classroom.”

To find out if your student’s teacher has a project in need of financial assistance, visit donorschoose.org and search by school or teacher.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Recommended for you