My Lifesavers-Parent Volunteers!

I have been fortunate for so many years to have a wonderful group of parent volunteers who come to my classroom daily to help my students. I have one parent volunteer who comes every day and has been with me since her daughter was in third grade, and now she is in seventh grade! There must be a reason why I had her daughter the first year my district ended class size reduction. I went from 20 students to 32! I had a class and a half! I was used to being able to work with my struggling students one on one, but with thirty-two third graders, I was unsure how to do that. For years I taught fifth and seventh grades with that many students, but after two years in third grade, and being able to see how much my students grew with more one on one teacher time, I didn't know how I would be able to service the students the same way I was used to. I vowed my students would not pay the price for the budget crisis. I am also lucky to have a retired colleague return to my class once a week to help administer fluency tests. It definitely takes a village, especially since I've seen the students struggle more and more each year due to higher class sizes.

I have trained my parent volunteers to work with the students on fluency, basic facts, comprehension, and sometimes reviewing mistakes on tests and quizzes, one on one. My students have benefited so much from the help of my parent volunteers. I have at least one parent, on most days two, who call the students back one at a time and work with them. The binders and clipboards are always ready for the parents to jump right in and work with the students with minimal explanation after I first show them what to do. Here are some pictures of how I set things up.

Basic Facts Practice- each student has a sheet for multiplication and division, and the volunteers quiz them on their facts until they know them. Known facts are highlighted, and unknown facts are continually practiced.
This binder has the weekly one minute fluency we are working on. Students who do not pass their fluency assessments are called back one at a time to practice fluency. I got the freebie fluency practice poems from One Extra Degree here- scroll down. I can't remember where I got the mini posters (if you know, please let me know!) but I found the freebie Tracking My Fluency Growth sheets from Jen Jones of Hello Literacy here
I currently have my parent volunteers work with students who need extra practice with comprehension. These nonfiction one page animal reading passages by Kayla Parker are perfect. I have the students read the passage out loud, and they answer the questions, being sure to underline where they found the answer. I have these in page protectors to cut down on copies and the students use dry erase markers to mark their answers. You can find them here if you are interested. 
For my students who need extra support, I have my parent volunteers practice with phonics readers and high frequency word lists. You can find a similar word list here- I actually like this one better! It is broken down and has more than the first 300 words. The students practice their phonics readers at school and at home. A second grade teacher gave me hers when she retired- they are part of our district's Houghton Mifflin adoption.
Do you have other ideas for parent volunteers to support student learning? I would love to hear your ideas!


  1. I feel so fortunate to get to volunteer in your class year after year!!

    1. Thank you, Maria! I think my students and I are the fortunate ones though!


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