WE WANT YOU!!!!
As the Reading Specialist and program coordinator at McLean 6th, the work of our mentors has been vital in the reading growth of our students. Not only have our mentors worked on improving the reading skills of the participating students, but they have also served as positive role models, cheerleaders, and support systems.
Students are chosen to participate in the program based on the following criteria:
The first two weeks of the program are spent engaging in getting to know you activities. Students take their mentors on tours of the school, fill out reading inventories, and spend time sharing with one another their answers to getting to know you questions. For the duration of the program, mentors and students work on reading and writing skills and activities from novels of their choosing. All reading and writing activities are already planned and provided for each mentor. Each mentor is encouraged to spend the first part of their sessions just visiting with the student; checking in with them, asking them about their lives. In the beginning of the mentoring relationship this part is crucial, as it eases and relaxes both partners and readies them for that day’s reading activity. It also gives the mentor a glimpse into the life of their mentee. This small glimpse can shed a lot of light on the successes and sometimes failures of that day’s lesson.
When reflecting back on the beginnings of this journey, and where it is today, I’ll share one more thing. The biggest concern, or question, most mentors, or those interested in mentoring, have is whether or not the work they are doing is going to, or is making a difference. First, I always tell the mentors that any time a child (especially one experiencing the rite of passage we call middle school), receives the undivided and meaningful attention of an adult it’s always beneficial! Secondly, I reassure them that no damage can be done; that the beauty of this program is they have the opportunity to have a positive impact on a child of the next generation; sharing their own personal experiences, hopes, and failures as a means of inspiring that child as they navigate their own path, and hopefully at the same time instilling in that child an appreciation of the written word.
McLean 6th Grade Reading Specialist
Reading and Mentoring Program Coordinator