Mystery Readers!

At Back to School Night – I always have a Mystery Reader Sign-up.  This is one of those ideas that if you aren’t doing it – you should start this year!  A Mystery Reader is a surprise visit from a family member (moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, etc).  They bring a favorite picture book to read.  One of my traditions is I always let the child sit next to the family member as they read.  It is such a grand moment!   I have had students from previous years come as Mystery Readers!

I like to set up a specific day and time period for Mystery Readers such as Fridays afternoons.  I write in the dates available on my sign-up form. (see below)  It is easier on my planning!  Next, I transfer the information from the sign-up form to my reminder slips.  I clip these on to my lesson plan pages – ready to go when it is time.

I will schedule only one Mystery Reader per Friday.   Here is a download of my Mystery Reader flyer and reminder slips:


A few of the amazing mystery readers from my classroom:

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  1. mrs. mindy says:

    I had Mystery Readers back when I taught First… loved it! It was such a great way to get families involved. Now that I am teaching two sessions of K I haven’t started back up again, it was just too overwhelming for me. However I now do a 12 days of Christmas and have Parents sign up to come and read a book the 12 days before we get out for Winter Break… they love it.

    • This is such a super idea! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing it. I love finding ways to include those things that are beloved and yet, can be overwhelming! What a gem!

    • Patti Smith says:

      What a cute idea!

      • Sally says:

        The children love it!

  2. Naiomi says:

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS, it adds something fresh to the school year!!

  3. Jaydine says:


    I was just wondering does the child who’s mum it is know they are the mystery reader? Or is it a surprise to them too?


    • Sally says:

      It is a surprise to them as well!!! So fun!

  4. Stacy G says:

    Do you ever have more requests than Fridays? Do you ask which book they would like to share so that you are not getting repeats?

    • Sally says:

      Yes – I always work with the parent’s schedules. I found it helps families commit to have a dedicated day – and that said I would try to accommodate any special days and times. I do not ask what book they are reading. In all the years I have done this – it never made a difference if a book was shared 2 or more times. They loved it the same the next time. A good read is a good read.

  5. I did Mystery Reader this year in 1st. I have the reader provide five clues as to who they are. Starting on Monday I read a clue each day to build excitement. The Mystery Reader comes in on the last Friday o the month. It can be really funny to hear their guesses. One student was convinced he was the Mystery Reader ????

    • Sally says:

      I love this!!! What a great idea! Do you have a form you use to have the Mystery Reader fill out to base your clues on? This so good! Thank you for sharing!

      • Francesca Kennedy says:

        Yes, I do have a form. They fill out the clues and send it back to me. I ask that the clues start out very generic and becme more specific by the last one.

        Here is an example from my last reader this year:

        I like sports
        My favorite food is pizza
        I have blue eyes
        I grew up on a farm
        I work in an airport

        • Kelly says:

          Where would I find that form?

          • Sally says:

            Hi! Did you see the blue “download” links? That should give you access to all of the documents. I think you and your class will LOVE having mystery readers!

  6. Gayle Forrester says:

    Mystery Readers, what a great idea. This would be a special way to hopefully have children be attentive when the story is being told.

  7. Laura Wilson says:

    Love this idea. I am posting the information today at each classroom to request “Mystery Readers”. Thanks for the downloads.

    • Sally says:

      The children really enjoy the buildup and excitement of “Mystery Readers.” I have to admit, I get excited, too!

  8. EThlyn Hays says:

    I love this very great for Fridays

    • Sally says:

      Fridays are a perfect day for mystery readers. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you!

  9. Tanina says:

    I had parent volunteers come in & read after recess when I taught elementary grades. It was wonderful!

  10. jeanette says:

    What a great idea! Thank for sharing, I’m going to include it for next year! I think the kids will love it!!!


  1. Who is that Mystery Reader?

    I love having “Mystery Readers” and it has been an important part of my classroom for years. There is

  2. […] If your school doesn’t have a Mystery Reader program, why not make the suggestion? Consider sharing the link to this blog for inspiration, or check out this elementary school teacher’s Mystery Reader webpage.  You can also visit for Mystery Reader ideas and downloadable activity materials. […]

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