Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Encouraging Parental Involvement in Children's Reading and Writing Growth

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on May 28, 2015 4:08:22 PM

GHaggardbiopicThis is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

Home involvement can facilitate a child's growth in reading and writing. The purpose of this blog post is to help teachers encourage this involvement. This post will present ideas for beginning of the school year, during the year, and the end of the school year.

EARLY IN THE YEAR

mother_child_reading_6079652_Monkey_Business_Images-250Many schools have open houses the first week of the year. This can give you, the teacher, an opportunity to meet the parents and help them understand that you are friendly and available. If there is a formal presentation of the year and some questioning time, you can assure the parents that some early screening will be done and that you can share the results at the first formal conference. This is not the time to conduct private conversations.

Your positive attitude can assure those who are new to the school or come with concerns about the child's strengths or needs. You can introduce the parents to your class library with books on various levels visibly present. You can also share and explain the role of the school library. Encourage parents to continue reading to their children. Explain the integration of reading, writing, and the content area and make parents aware of the emphasis on this. The fact that you use reading and writing in the content areas can assure the parents who feel each area should have a special time block.

DURING THE YEAR

If your school schedules individual conferences with parents, here are some reminders of some the important characteristics of successful conferences:

  • father_son_reading_15608314_Barbara_Reddoch-250Provide your personal summary of the child's strengths and explain special positive goals for the child as he or she progresses. Emphasize the child's strengths and explain how the child can use them. Share with the parents the next goal(s) in reading and writing that you have set for your involvement with the child. Share only one or two major goals. Explain why each goal is important, how you plan to help the child achieve it, and how the parents can help you.
  • Look at the parents as you speak to them in a friendly, positive way. You want them to leave knowing that you care and value the contacts that you have with their child and them.
  • Explain your plan for the child to read and write at home. Explain how books are selected for home reading, the importance of rereading some books, and the purpose of the independent reading levels. The instructional level is for school use. Share the fact that some of the books in the take-home bag have been used in guided reading but need to be reread.
  • story_mother_child_15159721_Monkey_Business_Images-250-1The family modeling of reading and writing at home can help the child see that what they are receiving at school is also important to the parents. One way to do this is to have a special time each day when everyone in the family reads. The boys need to see a man reading and enjoying the newspaper, or a book.

AN EXAMPLE OF ONE SCHOOL'S PARENT WORKSHOP

I helped one principal of a Title I school and her teachers share ideas with parents. They invited parents to be at school at dismissal time and to bring a snack for their children. While the children ate their snacks, a teacher used a student as an example and spent fifteen minutes demonstrating how to help a child as they read their take-home book.

Session topics included how to introduce the book, emphasis on not giving child an unknown word without modeling how to approach the unknown word, the importance of fluency and how to encourage fluency, introducing an unknown vocabulary word, how to help child develop a core of sight words that he can read quickly, and how to use known parts of a word to unlock an unknown word. Each session was based on one of these topics. Teachers floated and helped parents who needed help as they worked with their child. This was another fifteen-minute block of time.

Your school librarian might have a thirty-minute open house in the library. She and teachers can take small groups of parents and children and demonstrate how to decide if a library book is appropriate for the child to read. The parents can be encouraged to read to the child above the child's independent reading level.

Reading Recovery teachers with whom I worked recorded the child reading orally several times during the year. The date of the reading was shared before the child read. The parents got to hear the growth over a period of time and the changed instructional levels and in fluency.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR

family_laughing_reading_52550302_Marina_Dyakonova-250A letter thanking parents for sharing their child with you can also include ideas for helping the child to continue to read and write during the summer. The following ideas could be included:

  • Children who do not read and write during summer can lose up to three months of their growth during the school year.
  • Many public libraries have summer programs for children. The participating child may be asked to keep a record of the books read during the summer. The parents can continue to read to their children.
  • Summer provides opportunities for the child to write thank-you notes, diaries of a trip, letters to school friends that they may not see during the summer, and to keep summer memories in a scrapbook with pictures, maps, and other items from trips or other activities.
  • Parents can make books available while the family is traveling by car or flying.
  • Thank parents for their support during the school year. Work samples from the year can become treasured family history.

Parents can become partners in the task of helping every child become a good reader and writer. Share your special ideas with your principal and consider special guidelines for parental support in your district.

~~~

Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page below.  

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Topics: Early Childhood, Kaleidoscope Collection, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement, Geraldine Haggard

More Fun Oral Language Development at Home (Family Literacy #12)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Sep 4, 2013 8:00:00 AM

mother child project 250This is the last post in our series on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which presents ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, and offers free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. You can see the earlier posts here.

The workshop ideas presented in this post and the previous two family literacy posts help parents learn new skills in order to increase their child’s oral language development through structured and unstructured activities.

Fact and Fiction

Today's oral language development activities, intended to be used as take-home activities for parents to complete with their children, offer families a chance to play with both the discovery of facts and the creation of narrative, two skills that are very important for children to acquire if they are to meet the Common Core State Standards. Both activities are available as reproducible sheets free for download as a PDF at the bottom of the page, in addition to being laid out here.

My Turn, Your Turn Story Time

This is an old-fashioned storytelling time activity. It begins with a prompt from which one person starts telling a story and then at any moment hands the story off to the next person, who continues telling the story in his or her own way. This is repeated among the participating members until the story is finished.

• Appropriate for all ages

schoolboy cartoonDirections:

Step 1: The first person should begin telling a story based on the story prompt provided below.

Step 2: When the story has reached a point that the first person feels is a good place for someone else to continue, he or she allows the next person to take over the storytelling, going in any direction of his or her choosing.

Step 3: Continue this way until each person has had a chance to add to the story and someone comes up with an ending. An alternative to this oral interaction is to take turns writing the story down until it is complete.

Step 4: Make up your own story prompts and repeat the activity.

Sample Story Prompt:

There was a boy who loved school. He was very smart and loved to read. One rainy day, he was walking to school with his best friend when ...

Family Tree

Creating a family tree is a great way to discover and preserve your family’s unique history. This may take some time and energy, but creating an heirloom that the family can share forever will be well worth it in the end.

• Appropriate for older children

Directions:

family treeStep 1: Start by interviewing your parents. Ask them about themselves and then about their parents (where and when they were born, what their names are/were, what your mother/grandmother’s maiden name was, and so on). Keep notes on this so that you can create your family tree.

Step 2: Interview other immediate family members such as your grandparents and possibly great-grandparents. Ask them to tell you what they remember about their parents and grandparents.

Step 3: Talking with everyone listed so far should allow you to take your family tree back to at least your grandparents, if not your great, or great-great grandparents. The more family members you talk to, the more information you should be able to gather. Record this information and make a couple of rough drafts of your family tree before you make your final draft. Share your finished family tree with family members.

A family tree worksheet is part of the PDF download below.

This is the last installment of our Family Literacy Workshop blog series. For the remaining six workshops, order the book: Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Develop Oral Language at Home: Talking Together (Family Literacy #11)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is another post in our series on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which presents ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, and offers free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. You can see the earlier posts here.

The workshop ideas presented in this post and the last and next family literacy posts will help parents learn new skills in order to increase their child’s oral language development through structured and unstructured activities.

Talking Together

father children shopping environmental textExplain to parents that oral language is the foundation of reading and writing. Oral language is developed through the introduction and use of vocabulary that children do not already know or use frequently. We must think about the vocabulary we use with children and how we explain unfamiliar words. Here are some tips you can give parents to help support their children's oral language development:

Restating What Your Child Said

This is something parents should be encouraged to do whenever possible. When their child says something, the parent can restate what the child said using more sophisticated vocabulary. For example:

• The child says, “It is cold out tonight.” The parent can say, “Yes, it is cold tonight. Another word for cold is chilly.”

• The child says, “I am very, very hungry.” The parent can say, “When you are very, very hungry, that means you are famished or starving.”

Talking During Ordinary Activities

Sometimes when we are making dinner or shopping at the grocery store, we are distracted and do not talk much with our child. One of the best ways to teach new vocabulary, especially to young children, is to describe the task we are doing or the things that we are seeing. Parents can do this by describing how they are making dinner, making sure to tell children what each ingredient is called and the methods used to cook the food. Here are some things that parents could talk to their child about at the grocery store:

mother child cookbook 250• The colors and shapes of the vegetables: “This is a yellow banana. It is long and skinny and curves a little. Here is a red onion. It is shaped a little like a circle.”

• Reading the text on boxes. Parents can point to a box, identify each letter, and then read the text to their child. If the child is older, the parent can ask the child to read the text out loud. Young children can be encouraged to point out symbols, print, and other things that they recognize in the environment.

Today's downloadable take-home activities are more things that parents can do with their children at home. They make good "training wheels" to get parents in the habit of talking to their children in ways that will increase children's oral vocabulary and the language structures to which they have access:

A Moment in Time

— Parent and child will tell each other stories about themselves, drawing on different types of experiences: embarrassing stories, interesting events, happy or sad moments, etc.

— Skills addressed: listening and speaking strategies.

Cooking with Kids

— This activity uses an everyday activity to demonstrate how rich oral language interactions can take place all the time.

— Skills addressed: reading comprehension; listening and speaking strategies

~~~

Below is the reproducible activity sheet to download, which contains two take-home activities for parents to complete with their children: Remember to check back frequently for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Building World Knowledge: Helping Parents Help Teachers

Posted by Susan Bennett-Armistead on Aug 27, 2013 8:02:00 AM

susan bennett armisteadThis guest post by Susan Bennett-Armistead, author of our My World informational texts, is part of an ongoing series in which she discusses informational text and its benefits and uses. Check back regularly to catch her next post!

As early educators, we enjoy relationships with parents that some of our colleagues who teach in older grades miss out on. We are often their children’s first teachers, and we set the tone for how that family will view and work with school. Let’s get off on the right foot and enter the relationship as collaborating experts, with us being the experts on children in groups and the parents being the experts on their own children. With that in mind, this post is focused on helping parents maximize their unique position in promoting their children’s developing world knowledge.

Most parents want their children to do well in school and to succeed in life. Not all parents are hip to the ways that they can support that, however. While the message of “Read to Your Child” has been sung loud and proud for a couple of decades now, many parents may be unsure of what to read, when to start to read,  how much to read, or even how to read to their children to maximize their literacy development. By sharing with parents some of the following tips, through conversations or newsletters, you can help them to help us lay an important foundation for literacy success in our youngest children.

father children reading 200Literacy begins early. Some parents believe that literacy starts when children enter kindergarten or first grade. It’s crucial to children’s literacy success that we move away from a “readiness” discussion and help families understand that literacy is ongoing and emergent, and it starts as soon as children are processing language. If families are waiting to think about literacy until kindergarten, they’ve missed five years of building skills and understandings that their little one will need to draw on when they are in school. Help your families understand the key role they play in building their child’s literacy skills by engaging in literacy activities in the early years. Offer suggestions for read aloud, songs, and games in your newsletters.

Families are ALREADY doing good things for their children’s literacy development. You may be working with some families who feel like they have nothing to offer their child…except to turn him over the “the experts.” One of the best things we can do in building relationships with families is letting them in on fact that they are already supporting their children’s success. Could they do more? Sure, we all can—but by letting parents know that talking with their child, reading to their child, telling stories about when they, themselves, were little, and generally engaging with their little one all make a difference in their child’s connectedness to language and literacy…not to mention building a positive relationship with their parents!

boys sugaring 200Families are uniquely positioned to build world knowledge. It’s pretty challenging for us, as teachers, to get a group of children to the park for a field trip. (Shoot, some days, it’s pretty challenging even to get everyone dressed to go outside!) How much easier is it for a family to go to the park, the grocery store, the post office, etc.? Let families in on the fact that those little excursions that can seem like a hassle with children are really wonderful ways for their child to learn about the world around them. Just talking about what they’re seeing and doing can help their child make connections, build vocabulary, and understand their world. All of this information will be useful when they encounter those ideas or vocabulary in books later.

5252 Gingerbread Kids Cover 355Families can build connections to text better than teachers can. When we read Gingerbread Kids and ask, “Have you ever baked cookies at your house?” We really don’t know who has and who hasn’t. Families reading to their children know what their previous experiences are and can help them connect to the text, making it their own, by offering nudges like, “Remember that time you and Grammy made sugar cookies? You put sprinkles on yours. If you were making a gingerbread kid, how would you decorate him?” Encourage your families to talk about what their children have seen or done that relates to the book they’re reading. Asking questions that connect the children to the text can maximize their comprehension as well as helping them start to ask questions themselves.

Families know the child’s interests better than we do.  If you have a child in your class who is crazy about trains (or sharks or princesses or horses…), chances are, her family knew that before you did. Encourage families to use their child’s interest in a topic to build their knowledge of literacy. Let the family know that checking out every book on dinosaurs from the library and reading all about dinosaurs is helping their child in several ways:

  • building their child’s knowledge of dinosaurs
  • building their knowledge of how to learn things
  • creating a foundation for learning about other animals (there are plant eaters and meat eaters alive today!)
  • creating a foundation for categorizing new information
  • learning about informational text
  • learning how informational text about dinosaurs is different from stories about dinosaurs
  • linking information read in books to information learned on a field trip to a museum, and being critical of information that doesn’t “match”

child in water 200One of my brothers, who is a veterinary surgeon, went through waves of interests (presidents, dinosaurs, Egypt, Beethoven, etc.) that helped him learn all about many things in his early years. He doesn’t particularly care about any of those topics now, but his ability to learn, and learn well, has helped him a great deal. My other brother, a restaurateur and chef, identified early that he loved cooking and history and never wavered. Using children’s interests can be a passing thing or a permanent tool to build both their knowledge about the topic and their knowledge about learning. Families can capitalize on those interests well.

Families are our best partners in promoting children’s literacy and learning success. No one cares more about that child than his or her family. By encouraging families to capitalize on their special knowledge of their child and sharing the strategies here, we can promote learning for all our children.

~~~

Susan Bennett-Armistead, PhD, is an associate professor of literacy education, the Correll Professor of Early Literacy, and the coordinator of literacy doctoral study at the University of Maine. Prior to doctoral study, Dr. Bennett-Armistead was a preschool teacher and administrator for 14 years in a variety of settings, including a brief but delightful stint in the Alaskan bush.

~~~

For more information on the My World series by this author, you can click here to visit the series page on our website or click the image below to download an information sheet. Also check out our Story World Real World series to see some more informational texts, including Gingerbread Kids.

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Informational Text, Susan Bennett-Armistead, World Knowledge, Family Literacy

Oral Language Development & Making a Family Timeline (Family Literacy #10)

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 30, 2013 8:00:00 AM

mother child photo albumThis is another post in our series on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which presents ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, and offers free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts here.

The workshop ideas presented over the next few weeks' work of posts will help parents learn new skills in order to increase their child’s oral language development through structured and unstructured activities. Today's topic is making a family timeline. You can download the blank reproducible timeline at the bottom of the page.

Oral language is the foundation of reading and writing. Oral language isdeveloped through the introduction and use of vocabulary that children do notalready know or use frequently. We must think about the vocabulary we use with children and how we explain unfamiliar words.

Workshop Activity — Making a Family Timeline

Families will increase their conversation and bond over this enjoyable activity.
Parents will create a timeline of their lives, talking about each memory as they
record it. Children will learn more about their parents as they engage in a rich oral
language interaction.

Using the blank reproducible timeline, ask parents to create a timeline of their life beginning at birth and ending with “today.”

— Parents should explain the events to their child as they write them on the timeline. They should talk about the significance of the event and any other interesting facts that led them to write it down.

— Instruct parents to ask their children questions during the activity. Remind the parents to avoid asking yes or no questions like, “Do you remember that day?” Below are examples of questions that parents might ask:

• “Here is when mommy started first grade. How did you feel when you started
first grade?” Or, “How did you feel on your first day of school?”

• “This is the day your little brother was born. Can you tell me what happened
that day?” Or, “How did you feel when your brother was born?”

— Children should illustrate the timeline, drawing pictures that represent the
stories told by their parents.

Don’t Get Stuck!

Provide parents some timeline ideas to get them started:

• Birthdate
• Baptism/Bar Mitzvah, etc.
• Played on a sports team
• Started school
• Moved to another house, city, state
• Started working at ______
• Learned how to drive
• Bought a car
• Bought a house
• Marriage date
• First child was born

Offer the parents multiple copies of the reproducible timeline, so they can write (and their children can draw) as large as they want to. Tell them they can tape their sheets to the wall in sequence—if their timeline gets very long, they could display it along a hallway at child-eye-level. Or offer them space on one of the walls at school! When they are finished displaying it, they can punch holes in the edge and bind the pages together with yarn, to have a keepsake family history book.

~~~

Below is the timeline sheet to download. Remember to check back frequently for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Oral Language Development, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

4 Simple Ways Parents Can Help with Homework: Family Literacy, Part 9

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 23, 2013 8:00:00 AM

book038Due to the popularity of our posts on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which present ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, we've decided to keep the subject a recurring topic here on our blog, with a new post every week or so offering new free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts here.

You can download this week's free take-home activities, Biography Word Search and Convince Me!, at the bottom of the page! Review the take-home activities with parents. Point out what each one is about and what skills parents will be practicing with their children at home:

Biography Word Search

— Older students will enjoy reading about Martin Luther King Jr. and working on a word search focusing on content words used in the piece.

— Skills addressed: word analysis; fluency and systematic vocabulary development; reading comprehension

Convince Me!

— Older children will be challenged to write a persuasive essay on a given topic.

— Skills addressed: writing strategies; writing applications; written and oral language conventions

4 Simple Ways Parents Can Help with Homework

book0491. Provide structure

Parents can guide their child’s decision-making when it comes to time management. If parents know there are many activities planned for the end of the week, they can remind their child to work on homework early in the week so that he or she is not waiting until the last minute.

2. Quiet environment

As much as possible, parents should provide a quiet place for their child to do homework. This can include turning off the TV for 20 minutes each night or taking their child to the library.

3. Check homework

Parents can check homework to make sure it is complete and accurate, but should never do the homework for their child. Teachers can support this by not rewarding a child when it is obvious that he or she did not complete the homework assignment on his or her own.

4. Encourage communication 

If the student is struggling with homework or is spending longer than intended trying to complete the assignments, let parents know that it is all right for them to tell you this. This will help keep the home- school connection open.

~~~

Below are this week's take-home activities to download. Remember to check back next Tuesday for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Homework Expectations for Teachers & Parents: Family Literacy, Part 8

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM

book022Due to the popularity of our posts on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which present ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, we've decided to keep the subject a recurring topic here on our blog, with a new post every week or so offering new free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts here.

You can download this week's free take-home activities, Comprehension Concentration and Silly Story Time, at the bottom of the page. Review the take-home activities with parents. Point out what each one is about and what skills parents will be practicing with their children at home:

Comprehension Concentration
— This is a fun activity that helps parents check if their children are paying attention to key details when reading a story.
— Skills addressed: reading comprehension; literary response and analysis

Silly Story Time
— Families will review the parts of speech as they work together to complete a story with missing words.
— Skills addressed: word analysis; fluency and systematic vocabulary development; reading comprehension

Homework Expectations for Teachers & Parents

describe the imageGive parents a copy of the school's homework policies and remind them that homework assignments directly support the academic success of their children. Some key points about your homework policy might include the following:

Amount and Type of Homework

The amount and type of homework assigned should be consistent in same-grade classrooms. For example, one 5th grade class should not have two hours of homework if the other 5th grade class is given short review assignments designed to take about 20 minutes.


Homework Objectives

Homework should never consist of a new learning activity. Remember that each student has different support and challenges at home. Any assignment that is sent home should be something that each child can do independently and/or with minimal support (something the parent will be able to do). This does not mean that every child in your class needs the same assignment, only that each child needs to have the skills to complete the assignment independently The objective of homework should be to provide students with extra practice in critical skill areas.


What to Do If Homework Is Not Completed

Think back to your school rules planning. What are the consequences for not completing homework? Do those consequences support academic success or are they merely punitive? The goal of homework is to provide students with extra practice. If students do not complete the work at home, they should be allowed the opportunity to complete the work at school.

Guided Practice

Research supports the approach that school-based guided practice is more effective than homework. It may be more effective to offer time after school where students can complete homework. Tutors could be made available to help students when questions arise.

Communication with Parents

Design a method of communicating to parents what homework assignments are and when they are due. There are various ways of doing this, but here are some ways that we have seen others use that have proven effective:

— Have the same homework every night over a long period of time.
— Create a homework website.
— Email communication between parents and teachers. For example, a mass email could be sent every Monday morning with that week’s homework.
— Answering machine message listing that week’s homework. Many classrooms have direct phone line access. The homework assignments for the week could be provided on the classroom message.
— A classroom parent could volunteer to be the homework liaison for the month. Other parents in the class could contact that parent if they have questions regarding the homework.

The increase of communication between your school faculty and parents regarding homework will help increase the value of the work sent home.

~~~

Below are this week's take-home activities to download. Remember to check back next Tuesday for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Using a Homework Calendar: Family Literacy, Part 7

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 9, 2013 8:00:00 AM

scrapbook 001bDue to the popularity of our posts on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which present ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, we've decided to keep the subject a recurring topic here on our blog, with a new post every week or so offering new free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home. Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts here. Today we begin excerpts from Workshop #3: Supporting Homework. You can download this week's free handouts—a monthly homework schedule sheet and a weekly one—at the bottom of the page!

Supporting Homework

Let parents know that their role in homework is to help their child manage his or her time and to develop independent study and work habits. This workshop will provide parents and their child with a framework for scheduling work and play.

describe the imageUsing a Homework Calendar

Parents should be encouraged to develop a homework routine for their children. Doing this will help children develop better use of their time and become more independent.

Parents can help their child make a homework calendar. At the end of this blog post, we have provided a downloadable sample of a month-long calendar and week-long calendar. These can be reproduced and used for each month or week of the school year. The month-long calendar will probably work better for young children, and the week-long for older children.

Let parents know the maximum amount of time their child should be spending on homework each night. A strong suggestion is that in preschool to 2nd grade the homework load should be approximately 15–20 minutes per night; in 3rd–4th grade it should be approximately 30 minutes; and in 5th–6th grade it should be approximately 30–45 minutes.

At least 15 minutes of homework time should be a reading-related activity, either the child being read aloud to or the child reading to the parent.

Parents should use the following guidelines when helping students plan their homework calendar:

• Review what homework they have each night, and how long the assignment(s) should take.
• Extracurricular activities the child has (sports, dance, clubs).
• Social activities (movies, birthday parties).
• Family activities.

Students should take this calendar to school every day. This will serve as a good way for teachers to communicate with parents. Parents can also be encouraged to correspond with teachers by writing on the calendar.

~~~

Below are this week's handouts to download. Remember to check back next Tuesday for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement, Homework

Parents' Guide to an Interactive Read Aloud: Family Literacy, Part 6

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jul 2, 2013 8:00:00 AM

family laughing reading 52550302 Marina DyakonovaDue to the popularity of our posts on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, which present ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach, we've decided to keep the subject a recurring topic here on our blog, with a new post every week or so offering new free activity downloads and further instruction on how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school. Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts here. You can download the remaining take-home activities for Workshop #2, Finger Puppet Theater and Media Madhouse, at the bottom of the page!

Today, we give you something to pass along to your students' parents to help them assist their children in learning to read!

Parents Guide to an Interactive Read Aloud

mother child reading 9188171 JenkedcoBefore the read aloud

  • Choose a book that will be interesting to you and your child
  • Read the book to yourself before you read it with your child

During the read aloud

  • Be enthusiastic – read with expression
  • Stop occasionally and ask your child questions about what you are reading. Use the sample questions in this guide.

After the read aloud

  • Using the sample questions in this guide, check to make sure that your child understood the book.
  • Re-reading the book is beneficial for your child.

General Questions for Your Child

Younger Children

  • Do you see any letters you know?
  • Do you see any letters that are in your name?
  • Do you know what sound this letter makes?
  • Which way do we read – point to where we start? Where do we go next?
  • What does the illustrator do?
  • Who is the author? What does the author do?
  • Can you point to a capital letter?
  • Can you point to a comma? Can you point to a period?

Older Children

  • Do you see any words that you do not know, or that might be tricky for you?
  • Do the pictures, tables, information boxes or other graphics in the book help you understand the story? How do they help you?
  • What does the table of contents tell us?
  • Why do you think that word was bolded, bigger, or different from the other words?
  • Is this a fiction or nonfiction book? Could it a fable, myth, or book of poetry – is it something different?

Questions to Check for Understanding

Questions to Ask Before the Read Aloud

  • Based on the title, what do you think this story is going to be about?
  • Based on the picture on the cover, what do you think the story is going to be about?

Questions to Ask During the Read Aloud

  • What do you think is going to happen next?
  • Why do you think that character just did what he or she did?
  • Have you ever felt what this character is feeling?
  • What is this? (point to something in the picture)
  • Can you tell me in your own words what we just read?

Questions to Ask After the Read Aloud

  • Tell me this story in your own words?
  • What did you learn from this book?
  • Who was your favorite character? Why?
  • What was your favorite part? Why?
  • Do you have any questions about this story? What are they?
  • If you were the author, would you have ended the story the same way? Why or why not?
  • Does this story remind you of something we have done? What?
  • Did this story remind you of something that has happened to you or someone you know? What?

~~~

Below are this week's take-home activities to download. Remember to check back next Tuesday for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Reading Activities, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement

Hameray Herald: June 2013 Issue

Posted by Jacqueline Jones on Jun 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Hameray Herald Family Literacy June 2013

"There is general agreement that family support can make all the difference in the school life of a child.  Anything that we can do to encourage or increase the involvement of the family will be time well spent."

                                                                                                    - Adria F. Klein, Ph.D.

 

Hameray's literacy blog launched a new series of posts on the role of parental involvement in children's literacy, presenting ideas from the teacher resource Family Literacy Workshops for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach with each post offering free activity downloads.

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Striving Readers Teacher Spotlight learning the alphabet2 

2-PART VIDEO SERIES: Alan Trussell-Cullen 
discusses strategies for helping striving readers
in the upper grades.
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TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: Kindergarten
teacher Greg 
Smedley shares a fun activity
for teaching children the alphabet. 
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*****

Mobile Apps
Letter Buddies letter learning apps for the iPad and iPhone. Great way to
practice letter recognition, learn vocabulary & more! Find out more... 

 

Special Education Genre
Hameray offers products that support special education. The resources
are uniquely created by speech and language therapists and teachers, and
are designed to improve attention, language and observation skills, and
develop emotional literacy. SEE OUR SPECIAL ED PRODUCTS...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Hameray Herald, Family Literacy, Parental Involvement, Mobile Apps

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