Frank Ohl students have new reading buddies


Reading is a lot more fun with friends.

It’s a theory that Frank Ohl teacher Beth Nims supported when her fourth-grade students created “Bio Buddies” as a component of their year-long “Look in a Book” project.

The Bio Buddies were biography projects where the students decorated a cereal box with arms, legs, and a head to resemble their subject. Their work was displayed near the teacher’s room in late February and early March. “Instead of reading one biography as a class, the Bio Buddies helped us learn about 50 important people the students were all interested in,” Nims said of the project.

The reports, on famous Ohioans or Americans, displayed different facts from the students’ biography reports, including the subject’s life story, why they were important to the world, and each student’s opinion on their subject.

Nims worked hard to match her students with subjects that fit their interests, and told her students to decorate their boxes creatively.

Dominic Montalbano’s project on Neil Armstrong included dryer vent hosing as part of Armstrong’s space gear; Angelina Whatley’s representation of “Amelia Bedelia” author Peggy Parish included lipstick and yarn hair.

Dylan Fitz-Patrick created a Bio Buddy of baseball player Jackie Robinson, and learned something new in the process.

“I was interested because I love sports,” Fitz-Patrick shared. “But, I learned that he was way more than a baseball player during his time. He was a civil rights leader.”

Jessica Magni reported on Steven Spielberg, after watching E.T. and getting inspired.

“I want to be a director when I grow up. Mr. Spielberg started making little movies when he was about my age, so I can do it, too.”

As a component of the project, the Bio Buddies had the students reading biographies while exploring different genres of books. The fourth-graders are reading a range of genres in their free time and logging their process, and many of the students have more than 100 books read during this school year.

“Reading in their free time, and celebrating their process with projects like Bio Buddies, hopes to make reading fun and less of a chore,” Nims said of the year-long project.

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