Teachers Page

I want a BookPAL! Now what?

1. Visit “Request a BookPAL” and apply.*

2. Check your schedule and offer your BookPAL choices of times to spend a half hour weekly reading, questioning, encouraging, and exciting your kids with books.

3. Put your BookPAL visit on the calendar for students to anticipate!

4. Usually BookPALS read to the same two back-to-back classes each week, so please help your BookPAL find a second class at your school if needed.

*We don’t have a BookPALS program in every city. If we’re not in your area, visit our children’s literacy website Storyline Online where well-known actors read children’s books aloud 24/7.

I have a BookPAL! How do I prepare for the first read aloud?

1. Make sure your children are well versed in how to listen and participate in meaningful ways.

2. Let your students make nametags that are easy for your BookPAL to read so all students will be included in the reading.

3. Be willing to refocus or remove the occasional disruptive child. BookPALS are beloved, but nobody is perfect and every once in a blue moon the excitement is just too much for a student.

4. Have chalk, dry-erase markers, or your SmartBoard set up and ready so your BookPAL can expand on the reading without stopping the flow of excitement.

5. Exchange contact information with your BookPAL and keep in touch! Schedules change for all of us.

6. Understand when schedule changes happen. We all hope BookPALS will book lots of acting work! Work together! Feel free to ask your BookPAL to read books tied to your vocabulary lists, story maps, games, or other subjects. Give suggestions, such as multicultural themes, holidays, animal tales, beautiful artwork, realistic fiction, or personal narrative. Or just leave the choice up to the reader! A BookPAL can read long chapter books over several weeks or different short books each week!

7. BookPALS come with their own material, but if you have book ideas, be sure your BookPAL has the story in advance. BookPALS come prepared!

8. Take pictures of your BookPAL interacting with your students, give journal assignments about the books, tie art projects to the stories, have students write letters to your BookPAL telling which book they liked the best and why…. Let the BookPAL experience excite your kids.

9. Visit Storyline Online so your students can see more actors reading—and use the activities to go with the stories!

10. Relax and enjoy the fun ride!

How can I support my BookPAL in my classroom?

1. Having a BookPAL is not supposed to add to your workoad in any way. It is designed to make your students light up for reading.

2. Use your BookPAL visit to help students tie reading to thinking and writing: give extra-credit vocabulary quizzes, use the story to practice making a timeline, review cause and effect, expand creative writing opportunities, rewrite the ending, change all the adjectives or adverbs from a passage, journal about which character the student most identifies with, etc.

3. Get your kids involved! Put up a read-a-thon chart to track who is reading what. Raffle off a book for the most books read, best book report, most interesting book cover. Make silly songs, poems, mobiles, “stained glass” window scenes, bookmarks, magazine picture collages, environmental drawings based on the setting, etc., in what stories your BookPAL reads.

I coordinate BookPALS for my school. What is my role?

1. Please place each BookPAL as quickly as possible!! Volunteers are excited to start and just need to know which classes to see each week. Then your job is done. We can’t stress enough how placing BookPALS right away is crucial.

2. Find the BookPAL the same two weekly classes for about a half hour each. So two classes of similar grade for an hour total.

3. Please keep your BookPALS branch coordinator aware of who is reading when.

4. THANK YOU!