How Student Choice Empowers Readers

Tra'Lisha RenteriaVolunteers

How Student Choice Empowers Readers

WITS reading sessions are designed to empower students to make choices. WITS provides a safe, fun space for students to read books outside their classroom assigned reading.

During shared reading time, students and their mentors come up to the book bins together to find books to read. Mentors are there as a guide to help their student choose books and a support system for their choice. Our book bins are curated to offer students a variety of books to choose from. However, if a student is having a hard time finding books of their interest, they can let their WITS program staff know and they will help find books, authors, and topics similar to the student’s interests.

WITS Mentor at the book bin with student.

Student choice is one aspect of our WITS value empowerment. For our students, student choice means allowing students to choose what books, authors, or topics they want to read during shared reading time. Having a choice in what to read helps students build their identities as readers.  When children are given the opportunity to explore books of their choosing, it motivates them to read more. Motivation leads to one of the WITS program outcomes: growth in attitude towards reading. When students choose what books they want to read they are more likely to be engaged with the story, leading to a more positive outlook on reading and books in general. It also encourages them to read more. Once a student finds themselves reading something they are interested in, the more likely they will want to read books with similar content.

What can mentors do to empower students to become more motivated readers?

  • Go up to the book bin with your student.
  • Affirm your student’s choices.
  • When your student reads, make sure you show that you are listening. Ask questions when appropriate and jump in if your student looks to you for help.
  • If you cannot find a book that your student really wants to read, let the Program Staff know. They can go to our WITS library to find your student’s desired book!


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to the homes of students and classrooms of Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardees each year.

Wits provides

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of literacy mentorship each year in Chicago Public Schools.