Student Mentoring

My kids’ school has a tutoring program in which parents volunteer to tutor kids who are struggling at another school where resources are lacking. My daughter’s volleyball team needed a coach for the games (they have an excellent one for practice).
Yet, I can’t step up to do jobs like these. I am comfortable talking. But being around kids is difficult for several reasons. I’ve had to deal with funny looks when they heard me speak (typical monotone-style voice). The second problem is that some are not easy to lipread.
But I’ve found a wonderful program that lets me work with kids. In2Books (news report) is a reading program in which students in Washington, DC elementary schools are partnered with an adult mentor. I am the pen pal / reading pal of two 4th graders.
I started by creating a pictorial profile about me (no last name). The picture goes in my students’ classroom. They wrote me an introductory letter before we read our first book. I write my letter in Word and add clipart, then I upload it on the In2Books site. The students and I use the In2Books mailing address in our letters and we don’t share last names.
When the students write their letters, they write it on old fashioned paper and the program scans them. So it’s nice to see the students’ writing and drawings. We get four books to read throughout the school year (two before the New Year and two after).
After reading each book, I write a letter to the students answering their questions from the previous letter, and asking them questions related to the book while tying it to my life and real world experiences.
You know I’m swamped as a mom of three, an employee in a large company, and a freelancer. This program doesn’t take much time and it’s a fabulous experience.
By the way, the classroom they show in the news is the one with my students. Too cool!