Posted by: Linda/2/NJ
I have had Mystery Readers for 4-5 years now, and the best situation I had was when my class parent arranged the mystery readers so even I was surprised when the person arrived.
Since that only happened once, I've had to send a letter to the parents asking them to volunteer. Then, I try to schedule them at a convenient time for all of us.
Here is a sample letter. I hope it helps.
We are looking for Mystery Readers!!!
A Mystery Reader can be a parent, guardian, relative, sibling, close friend, teacher, etc. who shares a favorite or well-liked children's book with the class. The role of the Mystery Reader is to remain anonymous until he/she enters the classroom on the designated reading day. The program is supposed to be a surprise, so even your own child cannot know that you will be reading to the class. Since our time is limited, we may only have 1-2 Mystery Readers per week. I would like to start this program as soon as possible. I encourage you to join this exciting program and share your love of books with our children! Thanks for your enthusiasm!!! If you would like to be a Mystery Reader, please sign your name, phone number, and times you are available below and return this page to school as soon as possible.
Phone Number _____________________________________
*Please remember that we cannot have Mystery Readers during our lunch (11:30-12:30) or special periods (Monday 12:40-2:00 [Week #2], Tuesday – Thursday 2:35-3:10; Friday 1:25-2:00).
Posted by: Illinois Packer Fan
I have had several. This year there was:
the assistant principal,
the regional superintendent of schools
our state representative,
our former principal,
a grandma of one of the students,
a grandma of another student who taught 3rd grade for 35 years (she was terrific)
and a school board member.
I tried to get our curriculum director and superintendent but they turned me down (I was surprised!).
Sometimes they bring their own book and others prefer me to choose. They have all answered questions afterwards.
The kids seem to enjoy the variety of people that come in.
Posted by: BookMuncher
In my first grade class we do Mystery Reader-- I try to mix it up. We mostly have parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, etc... but then I also mix in community members.
Before that day, I secretly talk to the mystery reader and collect three clues from them: one that absolutely would not give them away (ie. when I was young, I had a dog named ____), one that might give the kids a hint, and one that will surely give it away (this one is sometimes even an inside joke or pet name) At the beginning of the day, I put up the mystery read poster, all folded up. I reveal one clue at a time. The last clue, I show right before the mystery reader comes through the door. Even though this project takes virtually no time for me to set up (especially if you front load by having sign up during conferences or open house), it is the highlight of the kid's year!
Posted by: JulieL
During each child's turn to be the student of the week they are asked to invite a guest to read to the class. Usually it's a parent, but I've had older siblings, baby-sitters, and grandparents. I've seen some classes where the guest reader is a surprise and the teacher gives clues (provided by the reader) all week long. In the letter that I send home the week before a child becomes student of the week I explain the guest reading and give a variety of days and times-usually any morning at the start of school or afternoons right before dismissal. I simply ask the reader to let me know when he/she will come. Parents have been very responsive to this program and the kids love having someone there for them. The reader sits in my chair and the student pulls up a chair beside the reader.
Posted by: 3grteacher
I have Mystery Readers too. The kids and the parents loved it. I put out a sign up sheet with all the open Friday's at Curriculum Night. They could sign up for 1 date.
I print up a list of readers and the dates and send it home to the parents in a sealed envelope. I ask that they not show the kids as this is part of the fun.
I send the list home to ALL the parents incase some missed the sign up, or could make the commitment that night.
I ask that the parents send in a list of three clues about themself the Friday before their day. The clues have to be general enough as to not give away who they are to their own child.
Usually we have almost ALL the Friday's filled up and most my parents did a great job of keeping it from their kids.
Parents usually stay for about 20 minutes. They read a story that they pick, or I can pick one for them.
Like the poster above, some times it's not parents. We've had grandmas, aunts, uncles, and sisters. I had a few open spots through the year so I asked our principal and VP and our Social Worker too.
Posted by: K/1 Teacher
Once a week there is a mystery reader in my classroom. This person comes in to do the read aloud but nobody (except me) knows who it is until they show up. The parents sign up to be the reader and I've also had other school staff do it when no parents are available. This gives the parents a chance to be in the classroom, and to choose a children's book to read to the class.
I also used to work at a school where each friday morning we had something called "Family Reading". For the first 30 minutes of the school day parents were invited in to spend time reading with the kids. Siblings could also go to siblings classrooms. It was a time spent on social reading in small groups. It was nice but parents needed to really be encouraged to actually come, otherwise it ended up being the same 2-3 parents each week.
Posted by: Steph
We did Royal Readers one year which involved a crown and a cape for those that came to read. It was a cute idea, but most parents were uncomfortable being "dressed" up in front of the kids.
I also ask school personnel to come in and read: librarian, principal, assistant principal, lead teacher, secretary, nurse...anyone who can model good literacy for the kids. It also helps them know the staff. You'd be surprised how many weren't sure which lady was the principal.
We've also had special days where the board of education was invited to be mystery readers. I think we usually did that around Black History Month. The kids didn't really get who these "teachers" were but it meant alot to them to get invited into the classroom.
Posted by: MsPropel
I've had parents come in to speak about the holiday that they celebrate in the winter. We study several different holidays in class and the kids enjoy having their families come in to talk about their traditions. I send home a letter asking the parents if they'd like to come. If they say yes, I give them a call to give them the details. I listen to what they'd like to share first (some can be more involved than others) then I let them know how long they'll have. We plan out their visit there on the phone. I haven't had many parents do this because many of our families are quite univolved :( but those who have come have really enjoyed the experience!
Posted by: cdg-1st grade
Do you have photos of the guest readers while they visited? Incorporate that into a simple thank you note signed by all the students.
Do you have copies of the books that they read? Perhaps take a digital photo of students reading that book and include a caption like: 'Thank you for showing us another book to add to our favorites list! ' or 'Thanks for opening our eyes to another great book! ' and have the kids reading "bug-eyed" or wearing funny glasses, etc.
Posted by: Christine
Hey there. I also have a TON of parents who want to be involved. I have "Guest Readers." Each week I set aside one 15-20 minute spot (usually a tuesday)for a parent to come in and be a reader. Prior to their week, I send home a note telling what we're doing with our curriculum so that they could choose an appropriate book to enhance our curriculum. I also have a parent helper come in to work with the class during centers. It's nice to count on an extra hand when the children need questions answered when I am in readng groups.