Reading to a buddy is a favorite among readers. Every year my students enjoy the Read to Someone component of the Daily 5 probably more than any of the other components. I introduce Read to Someone by creating an anchor chart with my students. Across the top of the Chart we list the reasons why we do Read to Someone; To become better readers, because it's fun, etc. Next, we record what the students will be doing. Finally, we record what the teacher is doing. I don't know about you, but when I create these anchor charts with my students, my handwriting is not as neat and polished as I would like it to be. I tell my students that I will be rewriting the chart in order to make it presentable for hanging. Once the anchor chart is rewritten, I laminate it. This ensures that I can reuses it year after year. Next year, after I've created another anchor chart with a different group of students, I won't need to rewrite it, I simply pull out the copy that I originally laminated. The information is basically the same, and my students have no Idea that I use the same anchor chart every year. It's our little secret.
There are two ways to Read to Someone. The first way is having partners reading the same book and the same page. This is called, I read, you read. During I read, you read, the higher reader should read first. This helps lower readers with word recognition. The second way to do Read to Someone, is allowing partners to take turns reading their own books, a page at a time and applying the "Check for Understanding" strategy. Partner one reads the first page of his or her book, and partner two does the check for understanding". Next, partner two reads the first page of their book, and partner one does the "Check for Understanding. Using the "Check for Understanding" strategy, the student listening to the reading will answer two questions, who? (Who is this page/part about?) and what? (What just happened?). In the book, The Literacy Cafe, the authors suggests making check marks out of wood or some other material for students to use. The whole thought of that was way too overwhelming for me. Instead, I made bookmarks out of precut, rectangular shaped foam. On one side of the foam shapes I drew a check with the words "Check for Understanding" written on the check mark. On the other side of the foam I wrote the letters EEKK (Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee). Next to the EEKK I also wrote, Who? and What? The purpose of doing the "Check for Understanding" is to ensure that each person is listening while the other is reading.
Having kids model the right and wrong ways to do Read to Someone is very critical for a successful launch. They should model sitting elbow to elbow and knee to knee, and holding the book in the center between them. Additionally, I like to select one of my good readers to help me model how to do the "Check for Understanding".
When I introduce Read to Someone, I have my students choose from a sets of multiple copies of books that I have at different levels. Once Read to Someone is up and running, I allow my students to choose books from their book baskets. In my opinion, Read to Someone is one of the most challenging Daily 5 components to get up and running smoothly. With my first graders, I tend to launch Read to Someone slowly. I usually start with, I read, you read, only. I want to make sure students are successful with this part first. Within the next month or two, I introduce Read to Someone again with each reader reading from their own books and doing the "Check for Understanding" strategy. I probably could start this sooner, however, I believe it's best to go slow, in order to go fast later. The best advice I can give to someone just beginning the Daily 5, is to dig in and make it your own!