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Developing Life-Long Successful Readers

Developing Life-Long Successful Readers

Seeing a child sit down with a book is always such an empowering sight. Whether it be a 2 year old analyzing the pictures in a book, or a 13 year old deeply engrossed in a novel, literacy education happens through all ages.

Oftentimes parents ask, “How do you even begin to teach reading?” The most important tool is to read to your child at home. Not only is it his or her first exposure to books, but it begins to open the door to literacy and fosters a love of reading at a very early age. It also helps children develop language and listening skills and prepares them to eventually understand written

language. Lastly, reading aloud to children – whether it is a simple picture book or a classic novel- stimulates their imagination and expands their vocabulary and understanding of the world. Children model behavior, so the more you read at home, the more likely they will love books and want to learn how to read.

Schools build upon this foundation and add the instructional approach. A great foundational reading program is not only one that teaches the necessary skills, but also includes authentic practice using these skills. Although worksheets are how most of us were taught, hands-on practice and being able to physically manipulate words through repetition makes more connections than simply filling in the blank . It’s also important to have a program that reaches all levels of learning. Many programs teach “to the middle” and leave out learners who might be excelling or needing additional assistance.

At The Parish School at St. Edward, starting in Kindergarten, the learners utilize a unique program entitled Wilson Fundations. This is a systematic program designed for foundational reading and spelling skills which emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics-word study, high frequency word study, fluency, vocabulary, handwriting, and spelling. When children are exposed to foundations of reading in a systematic approach their base knowledge for literacy strengthens. Wilson Fundations also instructs through a systematic exposure to chants, hands-on practice using white boards to label words and magnetic boards to manipulate words.  As children continue to acquire literacy skills and layer on additional knowledge onto an already solid foundation, learners are able to more readily accept those skills while continuing to challenge themselves and show great progress in their reading ability as a life-long reader.

Research-Based

Wilson Fundations is an extensive research-based program. Often times there are programs that have what appears to be great strategies, fun activities, and visually appealing. These types of programs could be great for home use as a supplement to the classroom instruction, however, as a school, it is important to implement a program that has years of use and backed by research. In a program review conducted by Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), all aspects of foundational reading such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension were taught and practiced with using Wilson Fundations and no weaknesses in the program were noted.

Creating Readers

 

Research and foundational skills aside, the true moment of a successful reading program is watching it being used in the classroom and observing how the children are retaining the information. When one steps into an English Language Arts classroom at The Parish School at St. Edward, the amount of engagement and passion for learning are very evident. In speaking with the learners about what they are currently reading, the vocabulary they use to explain their book and the connections they are able to make to their life or to our Catholic faith are always astonishing.

#AlwaysLearning….#AlwaysReading

Top-5 Tips for Selecting a Kindergarten Program

Top-5 Tips for Selecting a Kindergarten Program

Ready for Kindergarten? Tips for Selecting a Program

Looking for a kindergarten can be an overwhelming task. Oftentimes, parents are unsure of what to look for and important questions to ask. Typically when parents are touring different schools looking for that just right kindergarten program the hope is to keep their child in the school for the entirety of their elementary and middle school experience. Kindergarten is a special time when friend bonds of both the children and parents are established and kept throughout their school experience.

Below are a few of the key areas to consider when looking into a kindergarten for your child.

School Climate

When you step onto the campus of a school, you can feel the school’s climate by how welcoming the staff might be, do the teachers and staff seem happy to be at there, are the children actively engaged and appear to be happy. These are all details to observe when touring a school. Your child is at the school about seven hours out of their day. It is important that they are surrounded by loving and caring people so they feel safe and secure.

Student-to-Teacher Ratios

Student to teacher ratios is one of the most frequently asked questions when parents tour schools. It is important to ask the ratio of students to teacher. At some schools they also have either full-time or part-time teacher assistants which is extremely helpful as the assistant can help students and monitor while the teacher is teaching.

School Schedule

Ask about the school’s schedule. How often do the students get recess and lunch? What is the start and end time of the instructional day? Are there additional classes other than the core subjects that the school offers? How much of the day is spent on traditional learning vs. hands-on centers. These are all important questions as it is important for you to know what your child’s day consists of.

Look Ahead

While you are inquiring about Kindergarten, ask about future grades as well. Since selecting a school should be a long-term investment, it’s important to get a good understanding of what the future holds. Do the class sizes remain the same? Are there teacher assistants in every grade level? Is the schedule similar to kindergarten?

Faith

If you are looking at a parochial school, look at how faith is integrated inside and  outside the classroom? Do they attend a weekly religious service? Do they have a mentorship program with older students to help them model Christian behavior. Is religion just a class or is it integrated into their entire curriculum program?

Learn more about Kindergarten and the selection process by attending the K is for Kindergarten event at The Parish School at St. Edward on Wednesday, February 27 from 4:30 – 5:30 PM.  You can ask the veteran kindergarten teachers and administrators your questions, engage in hands-on activities and learn about our unique program that sets us apart! Children and parents welcome.

Learn more at www.stedschool.org/kindergarten.

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