This past school year one of the third grade teachers in our district, Ms. Dumas, approached my assistant principal about arranging high school students who would read to her class of students. When I was informed of this, I immediately told my Honors Sophomore Seminar students who were quite excited about the idea.
Ms. Dumas and I started emailing back and forth right away and decided that Mondays and Wednesdays at the end of her school day would work out best. I organized a sign up sheet for my students, borrowed lots of picture books from the library, and was off and running. My students are familiar with read alouds since I read aloud to them every day, but they aren’t used to reading to kids. Every Monday and Wednesday I read them a different picture book and provided them with different read aloud strategies for them to use.
The third graders LOVED it when we visited them. Ms. Dumas told me that Mondays and Wednesdays became their favorite days 🙂 Something that made me proud is that my students weren’t getting a grade or extra credit for doing this. Some of them were able to use the hours for community service, but other than that they simply did this because they enjoyed it. It made them feel good to see the kids so happy and excited. I truly had some fantastic sophomores this past school year.
Here’s a list of some of my students’ and the third graders’ favorite picture books (I apologize for the goofy cover layout):
Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown (Goodreads)
You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown (Goodreads)
Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman (Goodreads)
Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee (Goodreads)
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Goodreads)
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore (Goodreads)
Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds (Goodreads)
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Goodreads)
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Goodreads)
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (Goodreads)
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (Goodreads)
My students read to these students for about six weeks or so, and on the last day the third graders read to my students. They had been working on writing and polishing informational texts for a couple weeks, so they were thrilled to switch roles. Ms. Dumas also brought in popsicles for all of us to eat when everyone was done reading. It was a really fun way to celebrate such a positive all-around reading experience.
Next year we’d like to have two groups of students come in to work with Ms. Dumas’s new group of third graders. She wants her students to be stronger writers too, so we’re thinking about pairing up her students with some of my students as pen pals. Next year we’d also like to arrange the read alouds to fit more with what she’s teaching her students. We talked about doing an author/illustrator study, comparing ways of telling fairy tales, etc.
To all of my Twitter friends who suggest titles for us to read–THANK YOU! I had so much fun sharing the books you recommended with my students and watching them share them with the third graders.