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Ready for School!

Dear Parents,

The summer break has officially come to a close and the 2019-2020 school year has already started in some places or will begin this week in other areas of the country. I know that you are filled with pride and great expectations for the school year. I also believe that there is some amount of anxiety because you want to do your part in ensuring that your children are academically and socially successful. I want you to know that your involvement in your child's education is of vital importance for their success. I want to partner with you this school year.

Each week in the month of September I will focus on important topics which I believe will help you and your scholars to get off to a great start. This series will be entitled “Ready for School”. Please note that “school” refers to parochial, private, charter, public and home schools. I will present topics that I believe are important from the perspective of an educator, but my goal is to support you. So please talk back to me, ask questions and request your own topics.

The first topic is the “Culture of Reading”. I started my career as a middle school history teacher and quickly recognized how important it is for scholars to have strong reading skills in order to be academically successful in all subject areas. But it took only a year in an elementary setting as a vice principal to learn that it is also equally important to foster a love for reading in children. Your partnership is key in accomplishing this goal. If you have not already established this culture of reading in your home, it is never too late. If you already have, kudos! Whether the scholar is unborn or getting ready for college you can begin to establish this culture. Here are some simple tips to help you foster a love for reading in your home with your children at any age:

  1. Read to your children while they are in the womb!

  2. Develop a home library.

  3. Read at least one book per day with your child.

  4. Be an example: Let your children see you enjoying reading.

  5. Schedule a time in your home when everyone reads independently.

*Young children can flip through picture books to get into the habit of holding and handling a book correctly. Yes, that is a thing! Kindergarten teachers have to teach students how to hold a book, which direction to read the text in, what words and letters are. If you begin this work at home, your children will be ahead of the game when they get to school.

  1. As your children learn to read, do more shared reading. This will give them the opportunity to develop confidence while you continue to model good reading for them.

  2. While electronic devices provide a great deal of convenience, they should not be the only way that children are exposed to books. Let them touch and feel real books! Get them a library card. Spend an afternoon at a local bookstore.

  3. Talk about what you are reading! Strong readers can both decode words and comprehend texts. Ask your children questions about what they are reading!

  4. Read in any language, just read!

Below is an image I saw on social media that I believe fully captures the practicality of developing a culture of reading in the home. I hope that this post is helpful. Please provide feedback below and let me know what else you would like to know in order get your scholars more ready for school!

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