In this post, I’m going to show you how you can easily host an on-going Mystery Reader event to support I Love to Read Month.
Out of all of my 13 years of running a family child care business, this was by far my favorite community building activity.
Hosting a Mystery Reader Will…
- Build community
- Grow a child’s love for books
- Partner with the child’s family
- Create energy around I Love to Read Month
- Introduce kids to different styles of story telling
Reading Out Loud to Children Has Big Time Benefits
According to the folks over at readingrockets.org,
“Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents and teachers can do with children. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.”
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR MYSTERY READERS:
- Post a sign-up sheet (a blank calendar page works best) in your entryway. You could always go the electronic route using signupgenius.com .
- Cross out dates on the calendar (your sign-up sheet) that aren’t conducive for a Mystery Reader to come and read. This will prevent someone from signing up on a day you are closed or a party day, etc.
- Determine what time of day you’ll allow the Mystery Reader to come and read to your group. (I always did the last 30 minutes of the day.)
- Ask for volunteers to come and read to the kids in your group. (This could include parents, grandparents, older siblings, community helpers, high school athletes, the local county princess, etc. )
- Inform your Mystery Readers that they can choose to bring a book of their choice or you are happy to supply one for them.
- Once you have collected all of your volunteers, figure out how you’re going to notify the kids which days have a mystery reader.
Some ideas are: Put a list of dates in your newsletter, put a little symbol on their take home calendar on the days that a Mystery Reader will be visiting, put a sticker or symbol on your classroom calendar. We liked to use hearts because it was February! See example below:
MYSTERY READERS IN MOTION!
- Be sure to give your Mystery Reader specific instructions on where to park, which door to enter and where to wait while you are getting the group settled.
- About 5-10 minutes before your Mystery Reader is due to arrive, gather the kids in your reading area. Have a chair ready for your reader.
- This is a great time to quickly review story time etiquette with your group.
- Give Clues: I liked to write every child’s first name on the board and give clues so the kids could try to figure out who the Mystery Reader was affiliated with.
Option 1: You might say, “The Mystery Reader belongs to someone with a “c” in their name. Next, erase the names of everyone who did not have a “c” in their name. Give clues until only one child’s name was remaining.
Option 2: Keep it simple and give out clues about the child specifically. ‘She has blonde hair. She likes to color. She plays hockey…etc’.
Option 3: Simply wait for the Mystery Reader to ‘knock’ and enter. All of the kids will be surprised at once!
Send a Thank You Note!
Mystery Readers are more than likely volunteers from your community or from the kids’ families.
This creates a teachable moment about gratitude!
Have your kids write (or scribble) a Thank You card to show their appreciation.
I Love to Read Month provides tons of opportunities to bring kids closer to books! What other ways do you celebrate I Love to Read Month with your group?