In early October, 60 second-grade students from Noble Elementary School in Cleveland Heights visited students from Case Western Reserve University as part of a SAGES First Seminar course, Children’s Picture Book, led by Cara Byrne. For most of the elementary school students, it was the first time they stepped on a college campus.
The CWRU students have been exchanging letters with the elementary school students since August, helping the children improve their literacy and get more excited about books and reading. On this particular day at the Tinkham Veale University Center, the second-graders eagerly sorted through piles of books to find the best ones to read to their older mentors.
According to Byrne, the SAGES course helps first-year students think critically, learn to write clearly and persuasively and discover new ways to communicate based on their audience.
The partnership between CWRU and Noble Elementary School is particularly critical because Noble is an AVID school, which is a nationwide initiative to help students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those who are disproportionally underrepresented at four-year universities see college as a possibility.
“This is especially important as many of the second-grade students we work with do not have family members who have college degrees and several of the students are newly arrived refugees from Bhutan/Nepal,” says Byrne.
The partnership also helps CWRU students feel a greater connection to the Cleveland community, she adds.