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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Family Reading - post from Mach 2016

During March, Reading Month in Michigan is celebrated! Schools all over the state, along with State Superintendent, Brian Whiston, and our very own @GPSchools will be focused on planning literacy-related activities to motivate children and sustain positive habits of lifelong reading. What can parents do to help cultivate good reading habits at home?  My suggestion would be family reading!  

Family reading is one of the most important things we can do for early learners.  Reading to your children will build listening skills. Asking questions about stories your children are reading will increase comprehension and retelling skills.  Taking turns reading aloud together; this will enhance oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, background knowledge, comprehension, story organization, problem solving, and listening comprehension…  wow!  Not only is family reading a nice way to spend time as a family, but it also helps cement great reading skills that will be used in school! 

As you know, reading is the “foundation to success” and is essential in all subjects.  Good readers activate background knowledge and are able to predict, infer, and question while reading.  Fluent readers can put themselves into the text, making self-to-text-connections.  When reading stories together, stop and ask questions, predict, put yourself into the story, and ask, "what would you do?"

Sample Questions:

· Describe the main character.  Where does the story take place?  When does it take place?
· Name the supporting characters.
· What do you think the characters are feeling?  Why do they feel that way?
·  What is the problem in the story?  How does the character deal w/problem?
· Could the character do something different to solve the problem?
· What is your favorite part of the story?  Why?
· Have you ever read a story that is similar to this story?
· Does this story remind you of anything in your life?
· If you could come up with a new title for the story then what would it be?
· How did the story end?  Would you change the ending?  Why/How?
· What is the most interesting part of the story?  Why?
· Did you learn something new?  Give three new facts?  How can you apply this lesson to your life?
· What are the main character's traits?  How is the character like you/different from you?
· What do you think will happen next?  Why do you think that?  
· Tell an opinion you have about the story.  Tell a fact from the story.

Set a purpose or objective for reading, and allow time to make connections, such as:  text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world.   It is important to have conversations to enhance comprehension skills and understanding of the material being read.  Simple “making connection starters” could include:

· This story reminds me when I went swimming because…
· This story reminds me of when (character from different story/chapter/etc.) made a new friend  because…
· This story reminds me when my teacher did ______ because…
· This story reminds me of when we went on vacation because…
· This character reminds me of my neighbor because…

I am sure you can think of additional questions or connection starters.  Understand that it is not necessary to use every question or connection starter during your family reading.  Pick a couple that will enhance your reading experience.  The goal for family reading, besides great family bonding, is to support a natural transfer of skills into the child’s independent reading activities, enhancing comprehension, reading fluency and fostering a love of books. 

Enjoy reading!



Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year!!!  I hope everyone enjoyed a well deserved holiday break with family and friends. As educators return to school it is always good to review our intentional plans for sustaining a positive learning environment.  


“A quality teacher-student relationship means more than the combined power of all teaching and discipline techniques known to humankind.”
Love and logic Teacher-ism


I love this quote!  Establishing positive relationships with your students, while creating an atmosphere where children have positive relationships with each other, will truly benefit any classroom, family, or community.  Quality teacher-student and student-student relationships will support and increase a positive community where children want to thrive. It also makes everyone’s experience more enjoyable!  


As we start a new year it is always important to re-establish classroom expectations and learning missions that will empower students to be their best in 2017.  The best managed classrooms and learning environments do not happen by accident. Talented educators are intentional in their planning.  It starts with making connections and sustaining positive relationships.  Check out the #High5Challenge (focused on Reaching My Kids and Showing Them They Matter = PRICELESS) via @Mr_Oldfield  or Why Relationships Are the Foundation of Education via @bobby_dodd.  Both inspire and highlight the importance of keeping relationships at the forefront of everything we do as educators.


Continue to have a strategic plan focused on developing positive relationships with your students. Focus on things that are in your control: creating amazing classrooms where students are excited to learn!  Thank you for being great and enjoying the best job in the world… educating children!

Enjoy teaching and Happy New Year!