I am always looking to authentically involve parents in my classroom and I am happy to say that this next activity fits the bill!
Have you used Mystery Readers before? The idea is not new, but the best part is that it gets parents into the classroom, involves kids and exposes everyone (even the teacher!) to new and wonderful picture books :)
I have used Mystery Readers for the last three years and can honestly say it is the highlight of our week! Each Friday, I have a parent, grandparent, older sibling, neighbor, anyone (even other teachers and the principal!) come in to share their favorite picture book. They read it aloud to the class and we all get the chance to enjoy a read aloud- don't you just love being read to? Never gets old :)
Best part? Up until the reader walks into the room, it is a total mystery to the students who will be arriving- yay!! The suspense + the big reveal + a read aloud by a guest = happy parents, students & teacher- WIN!
Here's how I set up Mystery Readers in my class:
1.The first week home, I send an intro letter to the parents so they know all about Mystery Readers and what it entails. This describes who can be a reader, what to read, and the importance of keeping the secret :)
2. Then, a few days later during Back to School Night, I pass around a calendar with the times I have set aside for the whole year so parents can sign up. I have this available throughout the year, so parents can add/change their time if they need to. I continue to stress the importance of keeping this a secret- that's the best part!
I recommend the parents use clues like:
- where they were born
- their favorite sports
- their favorite book when they were in 3rd grade
- a fun fact
- not who their child is in class :)
5. I read the clues aloud as our class door is closed with our Mystery Reader waiting outside. The kiddo usually always knows it's their parent by the end and it's so so cute :) I then open the door for the big reveal and have the child introduce their parent (or sibling, grandparent, whomever). If it's the principal or another staff member, I have a volunteer introduce them to the group (it's nice to practice that skill!).
They sit at our Author's Chair and share their book. It's awesome :)
When they are done, we will borrow the book for a week (or I will pull my copy) and we will display it in our class for later reading (during Read with Someone or DEAR time)
I would love to give away a set to two people- in the comments, let me know a way that you incorporate parents in a meaningful way in your classroom. Remember to include your email address and I will chose a winner on Tuesday!