One of the things I do in school is listen to the children read to each other.

The school I volunteer at has an interesting mentoring scheme running, whereby the children in the older classes help children in the younger classes by listening to them read for ten minutes every morning before assembly.

As you would expect, it is not always perfect, but I think it is a marvellous idea for lots of reasons:

  • The more children read and are heard reading the better they will get at it eventually by sheer dint of repetition if nothing else.
  • The older children can feel useful and become empowered and more confident in their own reading and abilities by helping those who are struggling.
  • The younger children may not feel quite so intimidated by taking guidance from someone who is nearer to them in age than a grown up.
  • The children have to listen to each other.
  • The children can learn from each other.

The older children have not been sent in without help. They were given tips and pointers when the scheme started.

Some of them are fantastic at it, some of them are not so skilled, but they all seem willing and friendly.  I am really impressed by the kindness of the children towards each other.

I was asked to watch them, and help by offering encouragement, tips or comments.  I was also asked to draw up  a crib sheet of ideas the children, and anyone else listening to someone read, could use to become more effective listeners and teachers.

I think that the mentoring scheme is a fantastic idea. I don’t know of any other school that runs one, but I think all schools should.

I have learned quite a bit from watching the children, picking up on the brilliant things they do, and thinking about some of the less brilliant things they do.  It’s probably not very earth shattering. Most of it is common sense, but I thought I would write down my findings so far.

I think I will make it a separate post so that if someone wants to print it off wholesale they won’t have to cut and paste.