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Use E-Mentoring to Engage, Enhance, and Support Summer Reading

By Tammy Ryan
 | Jun 16, 2017

Two years ago, my nephew was disengaged and struggling academically as a sophomore in high school. After failed attempts to turn things around, his parents reached out to me for help. Using our iPads and Zoom, a free video conference service, I e-mentored my nephew twice a week. We referred to our own copies of required readings to virtually read aloud unclear passages, to critically infer authors’ messages, and to discuss unfamiliar terms. Zoom’s screen share option allowed us to view Khan Academy algebra videos simultaneously and to work through the problems together. Most important, e-mentoring gave me the opportunity to serve as a positive role model for my nephew, to build his self-confidence, and to cheer him on as he hurdled over an academic slump. Following are more examples of how to use e-mentoring to improve students’ academic performance.   

Virtual book club

Invite family members, friends, and children to join you in a virtual book club. Establish a day and time to meet online monthly. Like a regular book club, members should have read a particular section in a book or a book chapter. Using a device with a webcam such as an iPhone, iPad, laptop, or computer, members convene on Zoom. During the meeting, members take turns reading their favorite sections aloud, discussing what they liked or didn’t like, exploring themes, and sharing how the book resonated with personal experiences. For additional book club tips and discussion ideas, see “Having Great Discussions at Kids’ Book Clubs” and “How to Discuss a Book With Your Child.”

Motivating reluctant readers

Meeting virtually is particularly helpful for students who have limited access to books or who need an nudge to experience the pleasures in learning through books. Get to know the student’s interests and select a book based on those interests. Using a device with a webcam and Zoom, hold up the book to show its illustrations while reading aloud. You can also use Zoom’s screen share option to watch and listen to an actor read aloud on Storyline Online or to view other online resources together. While reading, engage the student in discussion.

Tutoring beginning readers

Meet virtually with a student who needs extra reading support. Using a device with a webcam and Zoom’s screen share option, guide the student in reading aloud one of the many books available on Unite for Literacy. First, select a book and ask the student what he or she thinks the story might be about. Then, point to the objects displayed in the photographs or illustrations to introduce important words used in the text. Finally, return to the beginning of the book and ask the student to read it aloud, choral read with you, or read along with audio.

For additional ways to support beginning readers, see Tutoring Strategies for the Primary Grades.

Tammy RyanTammy Ryan has over 25 years of teaching experience. She is an associate professor of reading education at Jacksonville University, FL, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy. Her research focuses on beginning readers, digital learning, and international teaching experiences.

This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

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