As a member of several mom groups, I get questions about what to do to get students ready for kindergarten. We all want to prepare our kiddos for success and send them into their education career well prepared (or ahead). Here are some ideas for what to do to prepare the brains of your little learner.
Relationships are the foundation of a successful school year. Not just teacher and student relationships, but parent and teacher relationships.
One evening last week, my next door neighbor asked if he could talk to me about his daughter's reading problem. His daughter is in first grade and two and half weeks into the year, he has determined that she has a reading problem. He sat down our table holding a "I Can Read Level 1- Fancy Nancy" book. He explained that he asked her teacher what she should be reading at night. Her teacher told him to get some "level one" books for her. He went to Half-Price Books and purchased all the "I Can Read" books they had. Unfortunately, reading time became torture time. Each night for the past week they have battled over her reading. He said "she doesn't know many of the words and hates to read." He asked how to coach his daughter to sound out words like "sometimes." With a sigh of frustration, he asked where he could get help and what kind of questions he should be asking the teacher.
Looking at the text he was holding, I assured him that most first graders could not read that book at the beginning of the year. I went to my bookshelves and pulled off the correct leveled texts and sent him home with them, as well as some activities and questions for before, during, and after reading.
Read Across America Day is fast approaching! RAD is on March 2nd each year in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday! This year, invite parents to join in the fun!
One of the best ways to get your young children reading is to turn on the closed caption setting on your TV's.
Striving for accuracy is the seeking or desiring exactness or something to be even better than before. When I think about accuracy I think about perfection. While it is impossible to be perfect, it's not impossible to strive to be better than you were before. I love this quote from William J.H. Boetcker, “Never mind what others do; do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day, and you are a success.” Teach your students that striving to be better each day is more important than simply being perfect. This can be a great tie-in when you are goal setting and tracking student progress in the new year!
The Art of Listening
Sometimes the most important thing you can do for someone is to simply listen. As easy as this sounds, it's actually not! Listening is a skill that takes both self control and compassion for others. When you stop and listen, you are putting aside yourself and focusing on others. Listening with empathy and understanding is one essential skill that students need to see modeled, authentically practiced, and discussed often.