Sandra N. Hathcox, M.Ed., Assistant Professor of Education
July 22, 2011 - Sandra Hathcox, Assistant Professor, School of Education, and Charity Carter, graduate of Union University School of Education and teacher at Nova 4 th grade, presented the Book Buddy Project at the Milan Librarians’ Academy, July 19, 2011. The Book Buddy Project is defined as Union University students and upper level elementary students corresponding via email allowing the elementary students to practice and further develop literacy and language arts skills. The culminating event is a visit to the Union University campus where all participants meet, play games, tour the campus, and share a meal.
This particular presentation approached the project from three perspectives. Perspective one: The Union University School of Education student. Charity Carter, who participated in the Book Buddy Project as a student in the Language Arts and Literature Methods class, first experienced the joys of interacting with young readers via email as an assignment in the college classroom.
Perspective two: The public school teacher. Charity Carter, who presently teaches 4 th grade at Nova Elementary in Madison County, recognized the value of connecting her class with the Union University students in a language arts experience. Her primary objective was to connect her students with college students so they could share in each others lives. Realizing the impact a caring adult can have in an older elementary student’s life, she approached Sandra Hathcox, her former professor about the possibilities of working together to make it happen for her students, Spring, 2011.
Perspective three: Union University professor. Sandra Hathcox, who currently teaches Language Arts and Literature at Union University, has participated in the Book Buddy Project for eleven years and continues to see the impact it has in the lives of college students. During the email communication between the two groups, multiple occasions arise to share positive encouragement, Christian values and Christian Worldview, favorite sports heroes and music, shared goals and plans, as well as shared interests and fears. Because of these opportunities, it is generally felt that this is a natural outreach and service to our Jackson area community. UU students consistently report that this is one of the favorite activities of the Language Arts and Literature class, which provides the stage for practicing much of what they have learned in class.
An additional plus for this presentation is that it introduced one of our former students to the venue of sharing what works in her classroom. The response in the group of 15+ attendees was very positive. Each took our cards to get further information with two of the teachers requesting the opportunity to participate as Book Buddies with our UU class.