Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mystery Readers

My favorite activity to get parents involved in our classroom is to have them be a mystery reader. Here's how my mystery reader program works:

I send out an email to all parents asking them to volunteer to be a mystery reader. I tell them that they need to be available on Friday afternoon (use whatever day and time works for you.), that they can bring their own book or I will provide one, but it has to take less than 10 minutes to read, and they need to send me an email with 5 clues about themselves. 

After hearing back from a few parents I scheduled one mystery reader a week. In some schools I have been lucky enough to have one parent a week the entire others I only had a handful of readers. No matter what kind of involvement you get, use the parents, they are amazing!

Many parents will ask what types of clues you need. Here are some ideas:
What is your hair color?
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Do you have a favorite food?
How many children do you have?
Where do you work?
What are your hobbies?

Then, the fun begins. Every day each week I leave a clue. I always leave the older clues written up on the board for the students to go back and review. I simply help the students read the clue aloud in morning meeting and leave it at that.

Then on Friday we all take a minute and guess who the reader is. I then invite the reader in and have the student in the class who the parent is related to introduce the reader.

It takes a short amount of time: the parent reads the book and then I let the students ask the parent a few questions. But, these few minutes make all the difference. The child whose parent came feels so lucky, the other students anxiously look forward to the reader and hope they have guessed right. And in the end it introduces children to new books and new readers.

I have had a variety of books from silly stories to stories about babies all around the world. Remember to always have some stories on hand in case the parent didn't bring one!

I hope you can take this simple idea of a mystery reader and roll with it. I'd love to hear how it goes! You can find a packet of clue cards and summary sheets at my teachers pay teachers store here if you wish.

Happy Teaching!

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