Director of Instructional Services - Letter to Community
Dear Barker Community,
What a year 2020 has been. I don’t think anyone would have thought when it started 12 months ago that we’d be finishing the year in the midst of a pandemic and that school would look very different! We thank everyone for partnering with us as we do what’s best for our children while following all the guidelines from the New York State Education Department.
Throughout this year, and in years past, I am often asked, “How can I help my children be better readers?” This is a great question and there are some very easy things you can do at home that will reinforce your child’s learning:
1. Print Rich Media Homes: First, literacy learning starts before children enter school! Studies have shown that children are learning based on print-rich environments at home. All this means is kids read things they see at home. From identifying letters on cereal boxes to understanding the giant yellow M represents McDonald’s, kids are always reading. So, when at home, point out words on boxes. Identify letters with your children on mail or on packages. Getting a lot of Amazon boxes this time of year? Work on letter identification by pointing out the different letters in the word Amazon. Ask kids what sounds go with those letters? While in the car, point out billboards and ask what letters they recognize. Any words they know? What sounds go with those letters? This will reinforce to your children that reading can happen anywhere and everywhere!
2. Watching TV: For students who are already identifying letters and letter sounds, consider adding subtitles or closed captioning when they are watching TV. Adding this feature will put the words on the screen for the kids. People can’t help but be drawn to print when it is in front of them. If your children are going to watch TV anyway, why not help them read more at the same time?
3. Read to your kids. Being read to really does help increase students’ reading ability. Kids as early as 9 months old benefit from being read to. Reading to kids exposed them to richer vocabulary than they usually hear from adults who speak to them. If you are struggling to find a book that you think your child would enjoy, reach out to his or her teacher. They would be able to help. Also, reach out to Mrs. Morrow, our librarian, and to the Barker Public Library. They will be able to offer suggestions for good books.
4. Ask your child to tell you a story. Write down what they tell you and then read it aloud to them. Point to the words as you read them or point at them as your child reads the story back to you. Have them illustrate and now they’ve become an author and an illustrator! This doesn’t need to be done on anything fancy. Extra paper and a three-ring binder can work.
Check out the Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment page (located under Our District) on the District website. We will be updating soon with a reading corner and suggestion tips to help students become better readers. In the meantime, check out the International Literacy Association’s Children’s Choices Reading List for ideas on books your child might enjoy:
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I wish you and your family the best this holiday season and for the new year. From my family to yours, stay safe, healthy and happy.
Dr. Mariah Fiona Kramer
Director of Instructional Services
Phone: (716) 795-3350
Fax: (716) 795-3394