Our team of Young Interpreters at St Swithun Wells Primary School is made up of twelve enthusiastic, caring and happy boys and girls from Year 3 and 4 who support their buddies three times a week for 15 minutes just after lunchtime. During these sessions we read them a story, show pictures and talk about the book. Year 3 and 4 buddies also read their colour band books to us and sometimes practise their spellings. ‘We use pictures, drawings and read with expression to help them understand what we are reading’ (Martha, Year 3).
This job needs us to be independent and responsible. At the end of lunchtime, we have to remember to go inside, quickly choose books with lots of pictures from the library and then collect our buddies from their classrooms. ‘I sometimes speak Polish with my buddy. If he doesn’t know the word, you can tell them what it means (Arthur, Year 3).’ We enjoy reading to them and seeing them smile.
It’s good for our buddies because they know they have someone they can trust. ‘At the beginning they were nervous and now they are excited to see us. Sometimes when we leave, they try to go with us’ (Evelyn Year 4). When we are on the lower playground they come up to us to talk. Our buddies like us and feel comfortable.
We are helping them to learn English and feel happy, but we are also learning new skills as Young Interpreters. ‘I am learning to empathise with others’ (Igor, Year 4). ‘It is helping me get better at communicating with people’ (Ava, Year 4).
The role makes us feel appreciated and proud and teachers always give us a smile when we come and take the children. Some other children in the school want to be Young Interpreters. The headteacher told everyone about what we do in the assembly. We also got a tea party in the headteacher’s office as a reward for our job.
Some of us spent time with Young Interpreters when we were still not confident speaking English a few years ago. Now we are helping others. When our buddies are older and speak English very well, they may become Young Interpreters.