EPals is an online site that allows individuals to collaborate and work together globally. My favorite piece of this interactive site is the "1n2Books" portion. Here, students are engaged in ementoring with adult pen pals. Students and adults read a novel and discuss the main points via epals. Students are given the opportunity to read quality literature outside the classroom. They are also provided with the chance to discuss their reading with an interested adult. It seems to me that students will be more likely to react to literature when they do not feel like they are being judged. Inside the classroom, students tend to be so focused on giving the "right" answer, they do not get the chance to become really involved in the literature. I think this is an excellent way to encourage students to become life long readers. They are given the opportunity to see how literature is used in everyday life. Furthermore, students are required to read and respond to literature. They begin to think about their reading as it relates to their lives by making text to text and text to self connections.
As an educator in an inner-city, another great benefit of this program, that is not necessarily educational, would be the exposure to a caring, consistent adult. Too often, children do not benefit from adult influence and providing them with an adult pen pal would certainly benefit them in more ways than one.