A to Z Teacher Stuff ~ Teacher Resources, Lesson Plans, Themes, Tips, Printables, and more


Grade Levels

Grades K-2
Grades 3-5
Middle School
High School


Subject Areas

Arts & Crafts
Language Arts
Learning Centers
Literature Activities
Physical Education
Social Studies
Songs & Poems
Special Education
Thematic Units



In the Olden Days: Senior Reading Buddies
Grade Level(s): 3-5
By: Phyllis A. Gilbert, Remedial Reading

Get your students excited about reading with this activity connecting seniors in your community to kids.


Students will...
  • read for pleasure and purpose
  • acquire an appreciation for written history
  • improve in handwriting skills and written expression
  • gain an awareness of the wealth of information of older citizens
  • write letters using appropriate level skills (parts of a letter, capitalization, etc.)
  • address envelopes after practicing the correct way on paper.


  • Literature books appropriate levels
  • Journal (we use wide-ruled spirals)
  • Envelopes
  • Notebook paper or stationery


This is a project I have found VERY successful with 5th grade students who are on various levels in reading.

I would suggest using this with any grade level. So many children today do not come in contact with the elderly and this is an excellent way to do so. The "Buddies" have enjoyed this activity and some want to be considered again for our project we call: In the Olden Days.

  1. First I divide groups... usually 4-5 to a group. These are chosen by the independent level of instruction they are on. I have used the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as they are different readability levels. Each child has his/her copy of the book for that group. I take pictures of each group.
  2. I have then either worked through our senior citizen homes, assisted living homes, and/or churches to make a list of senior reading buddies. After narrowing my list to those most appropriate, I take pictures of those I have matched to a group.
  3. When we start, students write a letter to the "Buddy" introducing themselves. The "Buddy" answers enclosing their picture and their introduction.
  4. Then we decide on reading our chapters...how many? When do we write to our "Buddy"?
  5. Discussions on paper can be quite interesting:
    • one group asked their "Buddy" the meaning of the word lard
    • a "Buddy" wrote her group about her first Model T
    • another wrote his group about coming to Oklahoma on a train
    • another about making lye soap
    • so many things I would not have thought of or had the time to do.

    You can use your own creativity to come up with so many cross-curricular things to do!! I have MANY more.....writing, spelling, economics, geography. I could go on and on!

  6. After reading the book, we give a Senior Book Buddy Party. This is the first face-to-face meeting of the group and "Buddy." One "Buddy" gave us a video of the LITTLE HOUSE on the PRAIRIE. I was amazed at times that those "Groaner Readers" were wanting to hurry and read a chapter so they could write to their "Buddy".


I teach reading to children on levels 2-4. These children are not, usually, those who enjoy reading or see a purpose for it in their lives. They avoid it as much as possible! I have taught 25 yrs. in OK and enjoy teaching. Someone said once that you learn as you teach. I guess that is why I have enjoyed teaching all these years. There is SO much to learn academically as well as about our fellow man.


Search Now:
In Association with Amazon.com
Copyright © 1997- 2019 A to Z Teacher Stuff, L.L.C.  All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.
Send questions, comments, and suggestions to webmaster@atozteacherstuff.com
For advertising informaton: Advertise