Color Your World: Piggy Pink
Having students read to piggies or teddies or Pikachu can be a valuable way to provide an audience for hesitant readers. Make sure they whisper read, so just their own critter can hear (and the room is not full of booming voices). Many struggling readers find this a powerful way to read books at their level without a sense of shame (“I should be reading chapter books!”). It also starts a habit which they can use at home, if no adults or sibs are available or willing. Hearing themselves read out loud is a confidence booster, perhaps jump-starting opportunities to read to younger kids. For some of my groups, I had their books placed inside folders so only their special listener knew what book was being read. This helped ease them through those early days of reading well below grade level. Some kids need that boost, others don’t.
I noticed that for many of my kids on the autism spectrum, this activity provided a chilling out experience. They usually read silently, clutching a dinosaur or Pokemon character. After the stress of the larger classroom, these kids needed comfort in a socially acceptable form. Before bean bags were banned due to fire regulations, they could also get a lot of form-fitting sensory input while reading to Kirby.
Personally, I read to Teddy. Piggy pink.