Most teachers in the elementary grades agree, parent volunteers make great reading helpers. All students can benefit from extra one-on-one reading time, and it’s an easy non-intimidating job for parents. At its most simple level, little direction is required.–Just sit and read!
Parent volunteers are also handy for helping kids practice reading fluency. To prepare, set up a binder with a tab for each child. Behind the tab, include several copies of short, passages or poems on the child’s reading level, a recording sheet to note each child’s times as they read, and a timer. Parents can work with one child at a time. They’ll record two times for each passage read. They can begin by asking students to read their passage and record their time. Next, parents will read the passage to them and discuss tricky words and confusing parts. After that, have students read the passage again and record their second time. Parents can conclude by providing the student with positive feedback about their fluency development, and by making a few notes for the teacher on the recording sheet.
You can take basic reading/comprehension practice a step further and avoid taking time away from instruction by setting up a notebook with directions and tips for parents to use when reading with kids. Include a class list with room for parents to note the date and details about what and how the child read. Include a few questions for parents to ask as children read.
Want to enlist volunteers to help students who need more one-on-one reading comprehension practice? I’ve created a resource called Speedy Reading Review to make in-depth comprehension practice easy for parent volunteers to manage and meaningful for kids, regardless of their reading level. (Note, the word “speedy” here refers not to reading fast, but to the time it takes for volunteers and kids to go through the routine.) The road trip themed routine includes a step for each of the following: Pre-reading strategies, noting thinking during reading, gathering key details, and understanding the text through inferential and interpretive thinking. It’s flexible, so you can ask volunteers to go through each step or just focus on one or a few skills each time.