Find out how you can pair students with younger readers in book buddy sessions to improve the reading and social skills of all involved.
- Create a student-friendly definition for “mentor.”
- Identify traits of Success that a mentor displays.
- Describe how to be a mentor to a primary Book Buddy.
- Chart paper
- Student generated “Traits of Success” (from the unit Welcome to Success)
- Writing Journals
Set Up and Prepare
- Establish a partnership with a primary teacher for Book Buddies.
- Make note of some mentors you have had in your life as it will be used in a think-aloud.
Step 1: Write objectives on the board and share them with the students.
Step 2: Paint a mental picture of a mentor and how this person supported and guided you How was this relationship different from others?(I begin with the story about my own mentor before anything else, because students learn better when given the experience before the verbiage. I tell my own story so the students can make a connection to the experience. I want them to understand the concept, not just the vocabulary word.)
Step 3: Briefly explain the logistics for Book Buddies.
- How often Buddies will meet
- The primary teacher whom with you've partnered
- How pairings will be made
Ask students to discuss in pairs:
- What does it mean to mentor someone?
Step 4: Compile the various student answers to this question on chart paper.
Step 5: In groups of four (two pairs join together) students will examine this student-generated list and develop a definition for a mentor.
Step 6: In groups of eight (two groups of four join together) students combine their two definitions into one common one. Students record this definition on chart paper.
Step 7: Post the chart paper from each group in the front for all to see. Have students read each of the definitions.
Step 8: Combine the definitions into one final classroom definition of a mentor.
(I have the students create their own definitions because when students create the meaning themselves, it becomes personal.)
Step 10: Refer to the Traits of Success
- What traits would a mentor display?
Step 11: Next to each listed trait, students describe how they could demonstrate that trait when working with their Book Buddy (example: I could demonstrate patience when my Buddy doesn’t understand something I am trying to teach them.)
Step 12: Students should put a star next to the trait they would like to share out to the class.Step 13: Go around the room and give each student a chance to share. Students should share their Trait of Success along with the way they could demonstrate that trait with their Book Buddy.
Supporting All LearnersStudents for whom English is a second language should be given the opportunity to brainstorm with someone else in their native language.
Lesson ExtensionsDevelop a bulletin board with the student mentor definition, identified mentor traits, and photos of your students meeting their Buddy for the first time.
Throughout the year, this relationship with a younger reader is motivation for older readers to develop their reading skills. We discuss fluency in reading and develop a rubric for it, which includes rate, articulation, expression, and pausing. We also work on modeling reading strategies during reading with younger students. Eventually, students learn to write higher order thinking questions to accompany the book they will read with their book buddy.
- Students will create student friendly definition of the word mentor.
- Students will create a list of successful traits mentors demonstrate.
- Were the students able to complete the objectives?
- What went well?
- How would you change this lesson the next time you taught it?
- Were the students able to apply the Traits of Success to a new situation?
- Were the students able to combine two or more definitions into a single one?
- Did the students’ examples support the Trait of Success they listed?
Student Self Assessment:
- How will mentoring your Book Buddy help them become better readers?
- How could mentoring your Book Buddy help you become a better reader?
Have the student reflect on these and other student driven questions after each buddy session. I keep a chart in the room and use a variety of reflection techniques—group discussion, paired discussion, independent written reflection, etc.