“What you do at home is what moves the needle,” said Dix Street principal, Mark Rollandini, during the first Family Literacy Breakfast event for 1st grade, when talking about how children can gain that extra understanding and achievement.
Dix Street Elementary recently formed a Family Engagement Team to look at ways to further involve families and give them knowledge and tools they can use at home to help their child.
First grade teachers put on the first event, a Family Literacy Breakfast. Students and their families enjoyed a hot breakfast, heard about the 3rd grade reading bill, and heard from their child’s teachers about how they can help at home. Ms. Staeven and Mrs. Morrow put together comprehensive packets for each family with great ideas of how to encourage and increase reading taking place at home.
“We wanted families to walk away with additional ways to read with and be engaged with their children as readers. We wanted them to be able to see that reading with their children doesn't have to look the same night after night and to provide them with the resources to make it fun and engaging,” says Ms. Staeven. Reading can be reading signs in the car, a recipe at home, playing a board game and so on. In fact, families created several games together at the event.
“We gave each family a game board for snap word practice, all of the game pieces and a good fit book. From there, we showed the families how to make a "popcorn" game to play together. They made one popcorn game that focused in on a specific skill set and then we sent them home with 3 other sets of words that focused on 3 other essential skills for 1st grade. They were able to play the game before they left.”
It was a successful morning with about 60 people in attendance. A great start on a new collaboration. “It is a group effort. We need parents to buy into and be an active participant in their child's education. It truly is a partnership between school and home.”
Families also received information on the third grade reading bill that goes into effect at the end of next school year. All third grade students must be proficient at grade level or could be retained. “We wanted to talk about the 3rd grade reading bill and that in order to keep achieving at high levels we need parent support,” Staeven added.
While schools are working hard to increase a child’s literacy skills, the third grade bill is not the only driving force. This has been a focus at Otsego for a long time and great programs have been put into place that would be there with or without the bill. “We have plans in place that are going to make these students successful,” says Rollandini, “We’ve seen a lot of students grow under these plans.”