Classroom Perspectives, Featured, Reading and Literacy

Read-Aloud Mentors: From Reluctant Readers to Inspiring Leaders

Read-Aloud Mentors: From Reluctant Readers to Inspiring Leaders

Originally published August 2021

By Lisa Rose

As a newer interventionist, I was excited to help high school students develop a passion for reading. I faced a formidable task: engage reluctant readers and address their needs with minimal resources for an entire 90 minutes.

Where to begin? At my disposal I had a quaint classroom library filled with donated, diverse reading materials, which I accessorized with motivational posters and colorful lanterns. I started preparing solid, teacher-directed strategies: “Today, we will summarize informational text…” Yet, I didn’t have to be an expert in reading nonverbal cues to understand what the slumped shoulders and less-than-enthusiastic responses of the students were telling me. My direct instruction and corner library ambiance were doing little to spur any excitement for reading.

Cross-Age Service Learning

In spite of my efforts, I knew I had to return to the proverbial drawing board. Then, a solution dawned on me while taking my daughters to a “read-to-the-animals” program at our local shelter. During the training, the coordinator explained that reading is soothing for the animals and helps to socialize them, making them more adoptable. At the same time, it’s also a fun way to help the volunteers enhance their reading fluency.

What an inspiration it was to witness my girls’ joy as they read book after book to the shelter’s furry residents. Their enthusiasm made me wonder if a similar idea could be incorporated into my classroom.

Although it wouldn’t be possible to take my entire class to read at the shelter, I began to look for other service learning opportunities. During my research, I came across the concept of cross-age service learning, which integrates service learning strategies into a cross-age tutoring program. Basically, older students act as mentors for younger learners while engaging in an act of curriculum-based community service.

I began to delve deeper, reading studies about cross-age reading partnerships that saw increased motivation and achievement in both the younger listeners and older read-aloud mentors. But as most cross-age tutoring occurs on a weekly basis, I needed to figure out how to make it feasible in a high school setting.

In the end, I decided to utilize the power of technology. Why not have my students make their own audio recordings of books? Not only could these recordings be listened to over and over, at any time, but they could be made available to a wide number of young readers in the community.

From that simple idea, my very own learning project was born, and it completely transformed my approach to intervention.

The Read to Me Project

To kick off the project, I invited a guest media specialist to come and speak with my class about the importance of early literacy and the positive impact of older students reading to younger ones.

Next, each of my students selected a picture book and became “experts” on their stories. Suddenly, students were interested in learning strategies such as summarizing, theme, and fluency, since they would need to incorporate these elements into the project. I was thrilled to see my students excited by and engaging with the project. Formerly tardy or absent students even started attending class on a daily basis.

I then invited theater students to share a presentation about their acting experiences and how to dramatize character voices. We laughed while playing improvisational games, trying to use our wit and think quickly on our feet. The classroom echoed with chuckles and expressive voices as my students practiced their “acting skills” and rehearsed their readings.

Final audio recordings were made available by QR code throughout the district’s elementary school libraries. Any student could now select a story in their library and listen to my class’ audiobook narrations while following along in the book. My students were famous!

I ended up visiting one of the elementary school libraries myself and interviewing a student who had listened to one of the stories. His response: “ten out of ten!” with an enthusiastic display of both hands in the air.

Students as Leaders

For the final stage of the project, we took a field trip to a first grade classroom at our local elementary school. I wanted to give my students a chance to read their stories in person and experience the immediate feedback to their hard work. A din of voices reverberated throughout the bus as students reminisced about their own elementary school days. As we walked through the brightly decorated hallways, students were awed by how tiny the desks were and how young the elementary students looked in comparison to their memories.

When we arrived at the first grade classroom, the teacher introduced my students to the attentive young audience. Each high school reader sat with their reading partner at one of the learning tables, desks, or on the patchwork “ABC” carpet. Tentatively, and with shy smiles, my students began reading their books.

It didn’t take long for shyness to transform into poised shoulders and confident voices as students relived the dramatization they had rehearsed. The first graders sat wide-eyed with keen interest. As stories drew to a close, my students asked their prepared comprehension questions and engaged in rapport-building conversations with the younger learners: “Do you have a favorite book or author? What is one of your hobbies? What is your favorite part about school?”

We received a thundering round of applause, and I couldn’t help the tears welling up in my eyes as I watched my students experience the positive outcome of all their efforts. They had grown from reluctant readers into leaders and mentors, promoting a joy for reading in their younger peers as they demonstrated just how fun books can be.

Later on, back in our own classroom, we engaged in a robust discussion about the entire project and the culminating field trip. In their written reports, students shared comments such as, “My favorite part was reading to the first graders,” “I liked making the kids happy,” and “I liked recording the stories and creating the sound effects!”

Shortly after, we received thank you notes from our first-grade partners with colorful depictions of my students and messages of gratitude: “You are the best reader. Will you come back?”

I continue to refine the cross-age service learning approach as my students share their voices and provide feedback. I’m always looking for ways to integrate the strategies that were embedded within the Read to Me project into my everyday classes.

With the advent of distance learning, the school invested in further digital literacy projects so my students could conduct their service learning remotely. Regardless of the format, be it in-person, pen-pal, or virtual, students have consistently shared that these projects have been valuable and enjoyable experiences. One of the huge benefits is the way students see themselves. Rather than a class focused on deficit repair, students shine as leaders who have special and meaningful attributes to contribute to our community.

Lisa Rose is an experienced educator in secondary reading intervention and holds a Master of Science in Reading. She is also an award-winning, published photographer in a local city magazine, and her scones garnered a baking competition ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair.

cbd gummies for insomnia cbd for pets research crystal creek organics cbd gummies hemp bombs cbd gummies price cost of pure cbd 300mg gummies do cbd gummies contain weed frogge cbd gummies what to know about cbd gummies cbd gummies carizzo springs texas hep clinic cbd gummies 1000mg perfect stache cbd gummies holy grail cbd gummies valhalla gummies cbd is cbd oil good for back pain hep clinic cbd gummies 1000mg cbd cannabidiol gummies 30mg cbd living help gummies 20 mg cbd gummies effects hemp bombs cbd gummies 75mg large pack cbd oil for fatigue sugar shack 10mlg cbd oil gummies cbd sweet and sour pwtch kids cali gummies free no cost cbd gummies cbd gummies lincoln ne fyi cbd gummies effects best organic cbd thc gummies to order online do cbd gummies make eyes dilate best cbd for focus and anxiety gummies cbd gummies for adhd child cbd oil gummies for autism cbd gummies real full spectrum wattage for cbd oil can u sell cbd gummies ebay best cbd oil for sleep and anxiety cbd oil dosage for breast cancer cbd gummies order what can cbd do for me diamond cbd gummies rating cbd oil for stomach problems how long do cbd gummies take

herbalife diet pills safflower oil pills weight loss hcg diet pills pills to lose weight fast at walmart what the best diet pills to lose weight fast best weight loss pills with diet turbo slim diet pills weight loss diet pills with ephedra alkaloids japanese diet pills pink side effects diet pills 37 5 benzedrine diet pills gnc apple cider vinegar weight loss pills how to lose weight fast with smoothies lean and slim diet pills how much should i workout to lose weight fast keto diet plan keto pills weight loss pills womens health what are the top rated diet pills alli weight loss pills instructions diet pills reduce atp production top 5 keto diet pills jenesis weight loss pills reviews abraham hicks and diet pills why dont weight loss pills work co diet pills weight loss pills that work fast and cheap diet pills you can take with autoimmune issues platinum max diet pills current prescription diet pills offered today most popular prescription diet pills infographic om diet pills for download guaranteed diet pills vietnamese diet pills forskolin alli diet pills drug interactions how to make homemade diet pills real weight loss pills reddit teen mom diet pills real weight loss pills buy weight loss tablets diet pills supplements

3d pop up greeting cards pop up lizzard card pop up cards ponny little chapel pop up card pop up cards dirty how to make a folded card pop up creative pop up cards ideas how to make a pop up card word thanksgiving pop up cards to make pop up window says has my credit card info pop up card patterns free download stardew valley pop up card pop up card teachers day birthday card template simple pop up pop up card butterfly template pop papers business cards lawn fawn pop up card easter add on set stampin up pop up valentine card tutorials red maple pop up card pop up christmas card for boyfriend pop up card project for kids pop up cards templates ifle tower diy golf card pop up bat pop up card how to make a bike pop up card the new japanese maple pop up card video lovebug magnolia pop up card glen echo classes pop up cards twist pop up card tutorial pop up card pop up friend card templete how do you make a pop up valentines card floral popup cards stores with pop culture birthday cards free online birthday cards happy fathers day 3d birthday greeting cards free google gift cards pop up id greeting cards buy thoughtfulls pop open cards in bulk

do pills work for male enhancement organic supplements for penis enlargement selling male enhancement pills ready man pills review mr thick male enhancement pills geisha sex pills viagra tablets for long time unprotected sex 3 days before the pills kick in ron jeremy penis pills do those penis pills work penis pills reddit otc ed pills no side effects get a bigger penis with no pills magra erection pills what pills increase mens penis size when to take viagra pill for best results does testosterone pills help penis size stendra erection pills sexual enhancement pills walmart longer erection tablets how to get a bigger pennis pills penis enlargent pills pinus enlargement pills chris male enhancement pills erectile pills over the counter sex pills rhino 7 sex men pills male sexual stamina pills emergency contraceptive pills after sex penis pills do they work sex during juliana pills ed pills that are blue buy natural sex pills malaysia over the counter ed pills cvs greenville ohio pain pills and sex best pill to make you last longer in bed can you have unprotected sex on sugar pills longer sex pills usa the best male enhancement pills at walgreens kong supplement