April seemed to fly by and it looks as if May will be even busier!! As adults, we know we still have jobs to do even though the weather is tempting us to go outside and “play". Children, on the other hand are not quite so easily swayed to stay in their seats and focus on school and homework. As the days get longer, it gets harder and harder to help students stay committed to school. We have many things happening and you can play an important part in all of our activities.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND CELL PHONES/WATCHES TO SCHOOL DURING TESTING, IF YOUR CHILD COMES TO SCHOOL WITH A CELL PHONE, THE TEACHER WILL COLLECT IT, PUT HIS/HER NAME ON IT AND WILL SEND IT TO THE OFFICE UNTIL TESTING IS DONE. THIS IS A RULE FROM THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION!!!
"What we teach children to love and desire," goes an education adage, "will always outweigh what we teach them to do.
4th Grade Brunch and Clap Out Ceremony
A school's objective is to create lifetime readers—graduates who continue to read and educate themselves throughout their adult lives and yet many adults still struggle with reading. In 1983, the Commission on Reading, organized by the National Academy of Education and the National Institute of Education and funded under the U.S. Department of Education was created to look at how to help children learn to read. Among its findings, two simple declarations are still important to education today:
"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." The Commission found conclusive evidence to support its use not only in the home but also in the classroom: "It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades." (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, & Wilkinson, 1985 p. 23)
Why it is so important for us to read to children; and why is reading aloud so effective?
- The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.
- And the more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow. (Trelese, 2001)
When is the best time for parents to start reading aloud to their children? According to Mem Fox, the author of Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives, forever, the answer is the day the baby is born. Experts say that children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before they can learn to read for themselves. If you were to read aloud, just one story a day, your child would have heard over 1,000 stories prior to attending kindergarten.
Now, you might be wondering how to know when to stop reading aloud to your children. Children benefit in many ways from read alouds even after they are able to read by themselves, so experts recommend that you should read to children as long as your kids will let you and it is our hope that this will continue into adolescence.
Fostering and maintaining connections with our children happens when we are able to set aside time, on a daily basis to share important aspects of our day. Spending time together sharing stories and poems, during daily read alouds; can be one of the best ways for this to happen. It is through this individual and undivided time with our children that we send them the strongest message about how much they are valued. Shared reading experiences often open doors to meaningful conversations and help to build and reinforce strong family beliefs and values. Remember, whenever you are reading aloud to your children, read with as much expression as possible, so that your voice makes the story “come alive!”
Reading aloud to your child can be one of your best parenting experiences! I hope that you and your child create many loving memories as you explore children's books together.
Here are some tips on reading aloud from LiteracyConnections.com and Madame Esmé
Don't wait until you think your child is "old enough" to be read to, start as soon as possible, why not today?.
Love the book yourself before you read it to the children.
Read it all through yourself before introducing it. Don't share a book you think is boring, because the kids can tell. There are too many wonderful books available, select one you both will enjoy.
Choose a book that lends itself to reading out loud.
Unless you are dramatically gifted, books with lots of dialogue are tricky. Also, books with lots of introspection are sometimes more fun to read alone. Save these for one-on-one recommendations.
Be versatile in your approach.
You read to them. Or, they read to you, in turns. Or, you read to them, but they all read along with their own copies. Or you read a page, they read a page. Or...what else?
Make read aloud time special.
Gather around. Turn off the lights, turn on a cozy lamp. Flop on pillows. Be comfortable, but intimate. Read aloud time is classroom family time.
Make reading aloud a daily habit! It's a wonderful routine to help your child prepare for bedtime. Like all habits, this one may take a while to get established, but hang in there until it's a daily (or nightly) routine.
Read with expression.
Listen to yourself on a tape recorder. Can your presentation be improved with dramatic pauses? Louder or softer speech?Funny voices? Don't be shy. They won't remember that you sounded silly. They'll remember an interesting book.
Don't over evaluate.
The more you formally test and check, the more you kill the affective gain. Assess comprehension throughout with questioning and authentic assessments (journaling, art projects, etc.)
Read aloud every day.
You and your students both deserve it. Consider it your intellectual vitamin. Read from a novel, the newspaper, a poem, a diary, a play...
Leave them asking for more.
Leave them groaning at a cliffhanger. Laughing at a joke.Crying along.Then say, "more tomorrow."And then...deliver!
Try to select an enjoyable core of books your child can choose from. Do they have bright, colorful pictures? Does the language flow in an enjoyable way as you read it, or does it sound unnatural and halting? Are the stories about topics your child might be interested in?
Remember to keep it fun! Try to allow your child to select the books to be read. Yes, it's hard to read a book for the umpteenth time (we've been there!) but your child will gain a lot from these repeated readings--both emotionally and in preparation for his or her own reading development.
Previewing books with your children is part of the fun! Look at the pictures and talk about them. As you chat about the pictures, you prepare your children to enjoy the book, and you can explain some words or names they will hear when you begin reading.
Roar like a lion, squeak like a mouse, this is an experience that you can really "get into."
You'll want to be physically close to your child as you share books together. One of the best parts about reading aloud is having your child sit on your lap, or snuggled up to you.
An enjoyable alternative to reading aloud can be the stories that you tell yourself! Your children will enjoy the tall tales you make up, or the family stories that you remember. But be sure to read books or tell a story EVERY DAY!
Continue reading aloud, long after your child starts to read by his/herself. Your children will probably want you to continue reading to them long after they are capable of doing it independently--because reading aloud isn't just about reading. It's a warm, loving experience that we hope that you'll continue for as long as your child desires.
If you would like more information on reading aloud, I would highly recommend reading the following books and visiting the author’s websites:
- Ten Read Aloud Commandments by Mem Fox
- Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Mem Fox
- The Read-Aloud Handbook - Jim Trelese http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/default.html
The last twenty-five years of reading research confirms, students, who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest.
I encourage you to take some advice from Mem Fox and “spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.”
We look forward to your continued participation in our classroom and school activities, as always, we look forward to you visiting our school. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Happy reading!
Pamela Albert Devine
Anderson, C. Hiebert, E., Scott, J. and Wilkinson, I. (1985) Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading, Champaign-Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of Reading.
Fox, M. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives.
Trelese, J. (2001).The Read-Aloud Handbook. Retrieved May 5, 2007 from