Students Meet College Mentors to Discuss Literature

Holyoke High students have recently started the "Reader to Reader" program, having the chance to hold meaningful conversations about literature they have read with college students.

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Students Meet College Mentors to Discuss Literature

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Students in Mrs. Brazeau’s Urban Literature class recently started taking part in an online program called “Reader to Reader.”

Through this program, high school students are paired with college students and they read a book of their choosing with their college mentor. Students get daily feedback from their mentors on the Reader to Reader website and carry on conversations about their book with their mentor and fellow students who chose the same book.

The students’ college mentors come from the five college system (Either UMass Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, or Mount Holyoke College).

“The opportunity to discuss literature with a college student will help our students validate their own knowledge and create discussions that they find interesting,” said Mrs. Brazeau.

The students in Mrs. Brazeau’s class started participating in the program in late October after learning about it during a presentation from Amherst College Professor Mr. Quinn.

The students got to pick a book, that fell under the category of urban literature, from a list costing of: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani, Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft, When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, and Harlem Girl Lost by Treasure Blue.

The program provides the students with opportunities to strengthen their thinking skills and abilities to carry on meaningful conversations. The college students help the high school students consider things about their book they might not have otherwise considered and they help clear up any confusions about the book that the high schoolers may have. There are hopes that this program will continue to be used at Holyoke High in the future.

“I do hope the technology challenges can be met and this can be used in even more classrooms,” said Mrs. Brazeau.

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