ARI's Back to School Newsletter

Alabama Reading Initiative

Our Mission

The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) is a statewide K-3 initiative committed to supporting the development of high-quality instruction that will prepare all students with the literacy skills needed to meet or exceed grade-level standards. The goal of the ARI is to significantly improve reading instruction and ultimately achieve 100% literacy among public school students.

Welcome Back to School

Back at School! | Back to School Song | Jack Hartmann

My Child Can Packets

The Alabama Reading Initiative is excited to share our newest resources with parents! We have created a guide to help you understand the 2022 Alabama Course of Study Standards. Check out the documents below for videos, articles, and games to help you support your child at home.

Click the link below to the ALSDE website under Family Resources for Grades K-3 "My Child Can!" Packets

Available in English and Spanish

Alabama Reading Initiative - Alabama State Department of Education (

10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s Education

  1. Spend some time learning together. Sit with your child during homework and transform something “boring” into a bonding experience.
  2. Tweak your attitude when talking about certain subjects or school in general. Try to keep a positive attitude.
  3. Read to and with your children. Take turns reading before bed, in the car, during homework, or whenever works best for you.
  4. Make everyday activities reinforce educational concepts. This could include reading recipes while baking, learning about science while playing outside, or engineering strong structures out of Lego blocks.
  5. Join a parent group with other parents to affect positive change.
  6. Monitor your child’s schoolwork. Doing this regularly creates opportunities for you to congratulate, help, and encourage.
  7. Keep open lines of communication between you and your child’s teacher to help them better understand their mood or behavior at school.
  8. Prioritize parent-teacher conferences. They are one of the best ways to ask questions and raise concerns. Don’t forget to take notes!
  9. Try supplemental activities. Be mindful of your child’s learning style to help ensure that they learn as effectively as possible.
  10. Volunteer at your child’s school. Let your child’s teacher know when you are free and for how long. Then get excited!

Make a Bookmark

It's a new year and that calls for new bookmarks. We have included a link to printable bookmarks that you can make with your child. You can never have too many bookmarks. Access the bookmarks here: Coloring Bookmarks

The Pigeon Has To Go To School

Is your child nervous about beginning a new school year? It is normal to be nervous about a new school year. Check out the read aloud video below that reveals a pigeon that overcomes its fears of a new school year.
Children's Books Read Aloud: THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL! By Mo Willems

Resource Spotlight

Reading to children is an important part of their development. Check out this informational resource that provides tips and facts to support you at home. It is available in several different languages.

Make a "First Day of School" Photo Book

The first days and weeks of school can bring a lot of mixed emotions to parents, children, and teachers alike. Along with excitement and relief, there can be the fear of the unknown, sadness over the end of summer, and a sense of anxiety about starting the year off right. This crafty project can help address and alleviate some of these concerns, support early literacy skills, and create some lasting memories, too.

What You Need:

  • Camera (digital is especially handy)
  • Cardstock paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Tape
  • Markers
What You do:
  1. To assemble the book, print your pictures and invite your child to help you lay them out in order on a table.
  2. Cut your cardstock paper in half to make a stack of pages 5½ by 8½ inches. On the first page, place a picture of your child and write a title. On each of the following pages, place a photograph and one or two descriptive words, such as “waking up,” or “my school.” You can have your child write the words or ask them to dictate.
  3. Use a glue stick to attach the pictures.

Back to School Read Alouds

Here is a great selection of books to read with your child afterschool or at bedtime.

David Goes to School by David Shannon

David's antics in the classroom will make your child giggle with recognition. David is so enthusiastic about going back to school! But David needs to learn that every classroom needs rules so that every student can learn.

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney

Stunning photographs from around the world describe the remarkable, and often dangerous, journeys children make every day on their way to and from school. No simple school bus picks them up each day, but rather children travel through disaster zones, cross rapids, climb mountains, and maneuver on ziplines daily to get to the classroom. Some of them even carry their desks! In this beautiful picture book for young readers, every image speaks to the desire for an education and the physical commitment the children make each day as they journey to school.

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

You know the routine...if you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he'll need a notebook and some pencils. He'll probably want to share your backpack, too. Another silly story from one of our favorite authors that is not only fun but lays a groundwork for teaching sequencing.

Goals for the New Year

Take some time to discuss goals with your child. We have included a resource to make this process fun. You can access the goals template here:

Decorate a Homework Clipboard!

You’ve probably noticed, after sitting in a desk all day, sometimes kids just want to flop onto a cozy chair or comfy corner and do their work there. Without a table to lean on, however, pen-and-paper work can be a little difficult. That’s why teachers often keep a box of clipboards in the classroom, and why a nice one is a great idea for home as well. Here’s a decorative idea to help your kid create a personalized clipboard that he/she will want to use every time there’s homework to do.

What You Need:

  • Plain clipboard in your child’s favorite color—just make sure it has a solid metal clip on top
  • 2 wide craft sticks (“tongue depressor” size)
  • Craft glue
  • 1 foam sheet in your child’s favorite color
  • Scissors
  • Stick-on foam letters and shapes
  • Squeezable paint (make sure you get the kind that sticks to plastic)

What You Do:

  1. The goal is to help your child design a cool clipboard that he/she take pride in using again and again, especially when it’s homework. To start, place two wide craft sticks horizontally across the top of the clip of your clipboard, and glue them down.
  2. Have your child cut a rectangular piece of foam and glue it down on top of the craft sticks. The piece of foam should be big enough just to cover the craft sticks.
  3. Then have your child spell out his/her name using stick-on foam letters.
  4. Now have your child surround his/her name with shapes that represent their interests or favorite colors—a sports lover, for example, might use ball and bat shapes, while another kid might create flowers or stars!
  5. As a final touch, use the squeezable paint to add any decorative touches.
  6. Give everything several hours to dry, and then enjoy it for the rest of the school year and beyond!

Additional Resources

Resources - Alabama Partnership for Children

The APC has compiled resources surrounding a FOCUS (Focus On Children Under Six) topic for all organizations that request the information for distribution in local communities. It is our hope that the FOCUS resources will provide more attention to birth-to-five topics statewide.

The Alabama Family Central is a single platform for families to access services and programs. Its purpose is to help families easily navigate and find links to support their needs. State agency partners include Departments of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Early Childhood Education, Education, Human Resources, Medicaid, Mental Health, Public Health, Rehabilitation Services/Early Intervention, with support from the Office of Information Technology

Starfall Education: Kids Games, Movies, & Books K-3

Starfall provides free resources that can be used at home to support reading. These interactive activities place emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, and common sight words. Starfall's systematic approach, in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity, is prefect for Pre K-3, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD,ELL,ESL).

Big picture


"Alabama Course of Study English Language Arts." Accessed 16 June. 2022.

"Alabama Literacy Act ," link act2019-523.pdf (

"Back to School Song | Jack Hartmann - YouTube." 26 Jul. 2019, Accessed 28 Jul. 2022. | Decorate a Homework Clipboard. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from

"Reading With Your Child | Parenting Minutes | WNET Education." 25 Jan. 2018, Accessed 28 Jul. 2022.

Starfall Education: Kids Games, Movies, & Books K-3. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from

"THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL! By Mo Willems - YouTube." 1 Oct. 2021, Accessed 28 Jul. 2022.

The information included in this document is done from the perspective of improving LITERACY instruction for students and is only intended to outline support that directly relates to literacy instruction. Please use any resource links with discretion, as their position statements are their own and not necessarily representative of ARI and the ALSDE. Usage of any materials should be with adherence to rules and regulations of the Alabama State Department of Education.