Peg Stowers: School is off to a great startPublished 9:42am Wednesday, September 16, 2009
What determines if school is off to a great start?
In our school district we measure this by observation, positive comments from staff, students and parents, abundance of smiles and, of course, productive classrooms.
As I visited all of the buildings last week I was truly amazed to find routines in place, even for beginning first time all day kindergarten students, clean well groomed buildings, grounds maintained, calm building atmospheres and learning occurring in every inch of the building.
I was also thrilled to observe teachers and students engaged in review and new instructional materials.
One kindergarten teacher even bragged that all of her brand new first grade students knew all of their “Word Wall” vocabulary and were very ready to begin reading!
She praised the kindergarten teacher in her building.
I was delighted to hear this because our district is stressing literacy at every grade level and every subject more than ever.
In fact, our staff professional development during the first week heavily engaged staff in literacy training, assessment and strategies.
Our elementary buildings are incorporating several new instructional and targeted strategies into their daily reading instruction which will increase the success of our elementary readers.
One additional support that will boost reading success is reading at home.
It is vital for parents to read to their children or read with their children daily.
Homes that believe that reading is important, find ways to read daily.
Here are a few tips that can be utilized:
• Visit and utilize our community library. Every child and family should have a library card. This encourages reading
• Read recipes – share.
• Read headlines from a newspaper at dinner or at some time that is convenient (newspapers can be accessed online also.
• Make a pledge with your children in your home that everyone will stop doing whatever is going on and read for 20 minutes as many days as possible.
• Read social studies and science materials with your child.
The list can go on and on -reading starts early, but continues forever.
It is hard to find a day that reading does not impact our ability to do business, manage our homes, complete tasks at work or allow us to communicate to one another.
Let’s partner this year to increase the success rate of children’s literacy.
Can we count on you?
I am sure the answer is YES, so read at home.
And remember that schools need reading volunteers everyday to read with children at school.
Thanks for the TEAM work!
Peg Stowers is the superintendent of the Dowagiac Union School District.