Helping Kids Flourish in Kindergarten and Beyond
It's fun in Kindergarten where assessments are all one- on -one. Seriously it is actually enjoyable except for the part where we have to keep the 19 other students engaged in work as we assess one student at a time.
 As I assessed students this week in preparation for upcoming parent teacher goal setting conferences, kids were constantly coming up to say "test me! test me!" How often do you hear kids at school begging for tests? Young kids are eager to learn; we just have to find ways to make learning accessible for different types of learners.
Our class is diverse, with kids at varying developmental stages in reading, writing, social skills and math. Although some students are more mature and able to focus, they are still very cautious and do not like to make mistakes!  The goal for the entire year is to create a safe environment where kids will be willing to take risks and make mistakes on their path to learning. You can help develop your child's literacy skills in many simple ways:
1) Work on letter identification, letter formation, and letter sounds ( phonics) so that your child is able to blend words while reading and slowly break down words into sounds for writing.
2) Reinforce the message that we give in the classroom that students are responsible for their learning. Each week we focus on a new sight word as well as a new letter. Let your child know that he/she is responsible for mastering all of the material.
3) Practice reading whenever possible in the environment. It can be fun to play "I Spy" games while driving or shopping. Kids often learn to read environmental print, such as the writing on signs, cereal boxes and more.
4) Review the weekly work that comes home in the Thursday envelope. When your child has written a simple sentence, ask him/her to read it to you. We are working on a key strategy of 1:1 correspondence; students are to point to each word as they read so they understand that each written word means you can only say one word. Many early readers have not yet mastered this skill and read several words where there was one word when I tested them.
5) Help your child to know that pictures in books provide clues to the words. If a book text has a picture of a baby for instance, and your child  "guesses" the word baby by looking at the picture and the initial "b" sound, he/she is actually using an important early reading skill.
Most importantly, talk with your child about how he/she is working hard in class. Each day we have a class meeting where students share about a time they put forth their best effort.  We believe that it's critical to recognize effort and commitment to learning.  Thank you for sharing your precious children with us. We are well on our way to a very productive school year of learning!

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