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Starting a Guest Reader Program in Your Classroom

Having a guest reader in your classroom is so beneficial for so many reasons.  I genuinely love having guest readers in the classroom! Setting up a program with a schedule that works for you and your guests can easily be done with very little prep on your part.

Reasons why I love having guest readers:

  1. Students LOVE having a guest come into the classroom! Whether it's mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or a sibling; students love welcoming others into the classroom.
  2. It is a great way for your students to hear fluent reading. They are all ears when someone is visiting to read and they're absorbing everything, including the fluency.
  3. They also soak in the voice of a guest reader and an adult that reads with inflection in their voice is a wonderful model for your students.
  4. It gives you a short break…it's okay to feel a bit of relief when you have a guest reader come in to your classroom! You can sit for a minute, prep for the next lesson, or even just enjoy the story with your kids!
  5. Family members love having the chance to visit the classroom and having family members volunteer creates a wonderful classroom community.  Making home to school connections is so important and having guest readers really helps family members feel welcome.
  6. It's a great opportunity to model with students how to send a thank you note and show gratitude to the guest readers. The guest took time out of their schedule to visit and sending a thank you is a great way to show appreciation from yourself and your students.

Creating a guest reader program:

Setting up a guest reader program can seem daunting, but it really does not take much preparation.  Here's a few easy things that you can do to get started.

1.  Send home a letter of interest:

To get an idea of how many guests you have interested and to be able to make a schedule based on the times that work best for the guests, send home a quick letter to families to let them know you will be inviting guest readers into the classroom.  You can send this home a few times throughout the year and you may have new guests volunteer as well.

2.  Set up a schedule

Once you have your guests set up, you can figure out how many times a week or a month works for your class.  Set up a schedule based on the best times for your own schedule as well as your guests.   Once you have a schedule set up, you may have readers that come back on a regular basis.  Some guests may like to read once a week or once a month, and finding times that work and setting a schedule make it easy to count this special time into your schedule.

3.  Let your guests know your schedule

Send a quick note to let your guests know when they will be reading to the class.  You can have the guests bring a book to read or provide a book.  Many times, I just have the guest read our class read aloud book, I choose a seasonal book, or a book relating to a character education topic we've discussed.  Keep a small stack of books set aside that are ready for readers if they do not have a book when they arrive to read.  And part of the guest reader fun is keeping them a secret!  Your students will love seeing their surprise guests!

4.  Enjoy your guests!

Your students will love having guests visit, even if their own family members are not able to join as a guest.  Your guests will get to know your students and it is a time that your kids will always look forward to in your schedule.  I've enjoyed grandparents, older siblings home from college, and parents read to my class; it is such a great way to get to know more about your students and build a class community.

5.  Send a thank you note

I always like to send a quick thank you to guests and to show our appreciation for taking the time out of their own schedule.  I think this is a great way to practice writing thank you notes and also inadvertently teaching gratitude.

Inviting family into your classroom to read aloud is so beneficial and you will find that you, your students, and your guests will all have different takeaways from this special time.

If you love having guest readers in your classroom, you might also like to read about using classroom volunteers.  You can read more here:

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Happy Teaching!

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