Monday, May 15, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

School-Home Reading Connections, April 2017

Reading Connections Newsletters

Please open the below links to view April's School-Home Reading Connections newsletters. Once again, I found many ideas that I think parents could use at home with their reading!

Beginner Reading Connections, April 2017

Intermediate Reading Connections, April 2017

Math & Science Connections, April 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Audio Books and Literacy

Did you know?... One of the Common Core Anchor Standards for grades Kindergarten through 5th grade is "Speaking and Listening"?  Since teachers at Cedarhome Elementary have been teaching toward the Common Core Standards they have discovered that students need practice listening to text being read aloud to them and then be able to participate in discussions or respond to questioning.   

Two articles I've recently read online are what prompted me to mention this Anchor Standard.  The first article was on the "Reading Rockets" website titled "Listen and Learn with Audio Books", by Rachael Walker (2017).  She stated that "Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories." The second article was authored by Linda Flanagan in October, 2016 (  Her article was titled "How Audiobooks Can Help Kids Who Struggle with Reading". 

Flanagan shared educator Mary Ann Scheuer's opinion that exposing kids to the spoken word through rich stories improves literacy.  Books sometimes require readers to decode every word, while stories told aloud free up the listener to connect with the story and the storyteller.  Also, for students who are not exposed to a rich array of words over their lives, well-told stories can enrich a student's vocabulary.  

Another point made was that audiobooks make a marked change in those students who hate to read. Taking away the need to decode each word, reread for meaning, and then picture the story, struggling readers listening to a story can soon "fall into the book" itself.  They will be able to participate in class discussions about plot and character.  Fluency can also improve because students can hear the narrator's pacing, tone, and expression and try to match it in their own reading.

Walker suggested when introducing audio books at home look for familiar stories your child has heard you read or tell before. Hearing a story they are familiar with can help them enjoy hearing it from a different reader and become a willing listener.  Once you've got them hooked, try something fun and new you both can enjoy. 

Audio books are available on CD's and sometimes online.  A good place to start is your public library.  Sometimes you can find a picture book or early reader that has a CD with it.  I do know that through the Sno-isle Library you can check out audio books online as well.

If you have a struggling reader at home, or just want to enjoy a book with your child in a new and exciting way try an audiobook. 
Going on a road trip this spring or during the summer? How about an audiobook to pass the time?  Don't forget to discuss the story, too!  Share your thoughts on characters and their feelings and/or actions.  Was there a problem in the story, how was it solved?  If you could write a different ending, how would you write it?  There lots of ways a family can enjoy an audiobook together!

Friday, March 10, 2017

School-Home Reading Connections, February & March 2017

Hopefully spring is just around the corner for all of us.  I know the students at Cedarhome are eagerly awaiting dry, outdoor recesses.  Even a little sunshine would be nice, wouldn't it?

As spring nears, so do more activities that keep children busy outside of school hours.  Our hope is that families still put aside the time and effort to keep their children reading, getting their reading calendars/logs signed on a nightly basis, as well as completing any nightly homework.

Below are links to the Reading Connection Letters for February and March.  If you have the time, be sure to browse them!  I always seem to find one or two good ideas that could make the responsibility of completing schoolwork at home more fun and interesting.

Happy Reading!

Beginner Reading Connections, February 2017

Intermediate Reading Connections, February 2017

Math & Science Connections, February 2017

Beginner Reading Connections, March 2017

Intermediate Reading Connections, March 2017

Math & Science Connections, March 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

School-Home Reading Connections, January 2017

Happy New Year Cedarhome Families!  Below you will find links to three different "School-Home Reading Connection" Newsletters.  Each newsletter is filled with fun and interesting reading or writing ideas to try at home. Be sure to check them out!  I will be sharing these monthly for the remainder of the school year.  Enjoy, and happy reading!

Reading Connections, Beginning

Reading Connections, Intermediate

Math & Science Reading Connections

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fun Websites for Reading and Math Practice for our Young Readers

Hello Cedarhome Families!

Do you have a student that struggles with reading or just struggles at home practicing reading or math because they'd rather play outside, play video games, or anything BUT read?  Well, there are some amazing FREE websites out there that are engaging and fun, yet still support learning and I'd love to share some of them with you!

Starfall - This site was designed to teach children to read with phonics.  You will find games, songs, videos and resources to print.  For those kindergartners and 1st graders my favorite are the #1 ABC's, and #2 Learn to Read.  #3 It's Fun to Read and #4 I'm Reading  are more for 1st grade and 2nd grade readers that need additional practice.  There are also some choices for math support as well. I encourage to check this site out! - Another favorite!  This site has games and fun ways to practice letters, sight words, and reading for pre-school through elementary years.  There are too many choices for me to even give you an idea. A must for you to explore!

Knowledge Adventure - You can find FREE educational games for kids here!  Knowledge Adventure's games for kids are a perfect combination of fun and learning.  Search by grade level, age, or subject (math, reading, science, word games, spelling, animal, etc.).  Games are arcade-like and very fun for kids.

Arcademics - this site does have a fee of $5.00 per year per student.  There is a multitude of games in the following areas: shapes, counting, addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, integers, money, time, decimals, fractions, language arts, spelling, typing and geography.  They do allow a small trial period before subscribing and I do recommend you try it.  I've played some of the letter games with kindergartners and they had a blast!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Winter Break & Learning Loss

Just a little reminder for parents and families to keep in mind during the holidays from your local Reading Specialist! 

     While research shows that children who do not read in the summer months can lose two to three months of reading development, those who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency. (1)   Although we don't see that much of a decline following a 2 week winter break, if elementary students disengage from learning activities such as reading or math facts we do see drops in student performance and some slowing of their education progress. I've personally seen it take a week or week and a half for students to get "back into the swing of things"!  Teachers at Cedarhome Elementary encourage their students to continue their nightly reading requirement and gather parent signatures on their reading calendars.  We also encourage them to continue practicing math facts, be it addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division.

       Just two short weeks upon their return from winter break students will be given winter benchmark assessments to determine if their academic progress is on track.  These benchmark assessments are also used to determine if a student could possibly need additional academic support through the LAP program or within their classroom. 

(1) Richard Allington & Anne McGill-Franzen. The Impact of Summer Setback on the Reading Achivement Gap. The Phi DeltaKappan. Vol. 85, o.1 (Sept. 2003), pp. 68-75