Unity Preschool News

Home School Edition - Volume 8

Sowing the Seeds of Reading Desire in Your Child

When I asked my Staff for content for our Literacy issue this week, a common thread became abundantly clear. We LOVE to read to our children and most of us LOVE reading as well. Reading aloud to children has clear cognitive benefits. Research confirms that "[t]he single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." * Another study found that kindergarten children who were read to at least three times a week have a "significantly greater phonemic awareness than did children who were read to less often." **

This newsletter is not about teaching your HOW child to read. Rather, it is about the importance of reading to your child and teaching your child to WANT to read. Reading aloud to your child is one of the most important things you can do to promote his or her future reading ability. That is why Unity Preschool has spent years building a library of over 2000 books that we share with your child multiple times on a daily basis. That is why our Christmas, Birthday and End of Year gifts are books. Reading is the heart of education. The knowledge of almost every subject in school flows from reading. So find a cozy corner, choose a good book and if you have not already, start sowing the seeds of reading desire in your children by reading aloud to them.

This will be our last content-focused Newsletter. It has been a pleasure sharing the quarantine journey with you and I hope that we have provided you with some great ideas for activities to enjoy with your children during these difficult months. Our Newsletters are linked on our preschool website if you are looking for ideas during the summer months. (https://www.preschoolatunity.com/) We look forward to celebrating our Fours in our last Newsletter next week!

*Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Report on the Commission on Reading, U.S Department of Education, pg. 23


We Miss Our Three's Classes

Last week we featured our Frog class taught by Ms. Lauren and Ms. Sarah. If you missed that video, here is a link: https://vimeo.com/412043576

This week we are featuring our sweet Monkey's class taught by Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Jen. Take a moment to enjoy some beautiful children. We guarantee you will smile.

Unity Preschool Monkeys Class (Threes)

Tips for Reading Aloud with Your Child

If you want to make reading aloud a more positive experience, here are some tips for making the most of read-aloud time with your child from the articles Why Reading Aloud to Kids Helps Them Thrive by Deborah Farmer Kris and 7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Kids by Vanessa Levin:

1. Start early, read often: Reading to babies helps build bonds, vocabulary, and habits. If reading a story is part of the bedtime routine from infancy or toddler hood, your child will take the lead in making sure that it happens each night.

2. Let your child pick the book: An excellent way to get young children involved in the reading aloud process is to allow them to select the book you read. If you find your are reading the same book, have a basket of books that you pre-select available.

3. Start small: The younger your child the shorter the attention span. In the beginning choose shorter books or books that are not too text-heavy. As you notice his/her attention span increasing, you can start reading longer books.

4. Read the pictures. Illustrations are visual clues that can help kids build their vocabulary and their emotional toolkit. Before reading a book, take a “picture walk” through the pages. Look at characters and the setting and make predictions about what might happen. While reading, pause to look at characters’ body language and ask, "How do you think she’s feeling right now?"

5. Be creative with your voice: If different characters are speaking in the book, try doing a high voice for one and a low voice for another. If you are talented enough to speak in an accent for a character, you will charm your child. When the story has a sound effect, make the most of it. A loud "BOOM" or an animal sound will do wonders to keep your child engaged. Vary your tone. For sad parts, talk in a lower tone. For happy parts, talk in an excited voice.

6. Read it again: As adults we may not always enjoy reading the same book day after day, but Jim Trelease says that reading the same book multiple times can help children develop language skills and improve reading comprehension. If you are tired of reading the same book, try reading it in a different voice. Or as you are reading, try stopping at a key word and see if the children can fill it in for you.

7. Press the pause button. Some nights it is tempting to rush through books on the way to “lights out.” But sometimes it is helpful to press the pause button before turning the page. Take time to look at a picture, ask a question, share reactions or learn new vocabulary. Help kids make connections between what they read and the world around them. For example:

  • The grandma in this story reminds me of your grandma. They both love making pies and telling stories.
  • Hey, she has brown eyes and loves dinosaurs — just like you!
  • Look at all those tall buildings! It looks a little bit like New York City, where your uncle lives.
  • He seems nervous about the first day of school. Do you remember your first day of school?
  • There’s a bear in this story! What other stories have we read about bears?

Ms. Tami - Free Reading Libraries

A fun way to spend the day is to visit Little Free Libraries in your area. They are all so unique and are usually filled with different books that you may not have in your home library. The idea is to “take a book, leave a book.” Here’s a map to search Little Free libraries by your ZIP Code:


According to Ms. Tami, there is one at the entrance to the Y trail by the townhomes in Baxter, Tega Cay Elementary has one, and when her boys attended Orchard Park, they held a fundraiser/raffle to install one at the entrance. Ms, Tami's sons enjoyed putting in the very first books!

Staff Book Picks

Ms. Jen: My favorite book is God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren. I enjoy how the book incorporates God into our lives; God gives us our children.....our blessings. I started reading this book to my kids at an early age as a way to introduce them to our faith.

Ms. Kellie: When my children were younger they loved books by Dr. Suess. They memorized One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. My son also loved the Superhero ABC book by Bob McLeod. He checked it out of the library so often, I finally bought him a copy!


Ms. Kelsey: My favorite book when I was a child was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. I still have the copy that I used carry around with me all of the time. My huband and I read every night with our children. We alternate who picks the books and sometimes we read chapter books. My children enjoy Mo Willems books with Elephant and Piggie and the Pigeon. My children giggle when we read those books. My son who is in kindergarten has even tried reading them on his own because they are so fun!


Ms Lauren: Ms. Lauren could not pick just one favorite book, so she went with her favorite author, Mem Fox! From Whoever You Are, to Time for Bed, and then to Koala Lou and everything in between, Mem Fox is an amazing author. Check our Mem’s amazing collection of book on her website: https://memfox.com/

Ms. Maureen: My all time favorite book is called Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.

I absolutely love this book because its about being yourself and finding your own tune. Everyone is capable of accomplishing their dreams in their own unique way. As a teacher, I feel that it's my job to always help children find the music they love!

Ms. Sarah: Books by Lynley Dodd are our girls' absolute favorite. Hairy Maclary is quite the character. My mother-in-law bought us the set years ago that we still have.

Ms. Tami: Our family has always stressed the importance of literacy from a very early age. I started reading to my boys very young (3-4 months old.) Reading to them was a treat they grew to look forward to and cherish. As they got older, finding subjects they were interested in, mainly non-fiction, and stories with a “moral dilemma” (i.e. making the right choice, being kind, helping others, etc.) helped to spark their love of reading. It was also helpful for them to see Mom and Dad reading for fun too. Thankfully, they still enjoy reading to this day! Some of our favorites are books by Mo Willems, Rainbow Fish and Frog and Toad Adventures.


Six Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Children

Just in case you are still not convinced of the importance of reading aloud to your children, here are six really great reasons to do so from 6 Great Reasons to Read Aloud to Your Kids by Marie Rippel.

1. Reading aloud to children creates a lifetime interest in reading: When they associate reading with happy memories, they are more likely to persist in learning to read, even when they run into occasional roadblocks in the process of learning to read.

2. Reading to young children extends their attention spans: A longer attention span will help a child perform better both in school subjects and in real-life projects.

3. Reading aloud to children aids in language development: As children listen to you read, they assimilate strong language skills. They pick up correct word pronunciation, word usage, and proper grammar. Their working vocabulary increases, and they internalize correct sentence structure. All these skills will eventually transfer to their own speaking and writing.

4. As you read aloud, the power of a child’s imagination is strengthened: As you read to your children, they visualize the book’s events in their minds. Through the pages of a book, children are able to experience events and situations that are outside of their own personal experiences.

5. Reading aloud helps build a child’s comprehension: As you read and discuss books together, your child increases his problem-solving abilities and gains insight into characters’ motives. Discussing a book as you read helps teach a child how to make good predictions. Reading aloud also gives you the opportunity to emphasize important character traits as you read. Point out examples of compassion, kindness, perseverance, and optimism, then take a moment to discuss these traits with your children.

6. Last, but certainly not least, read-aloud time is great one-on-one bonding time: Reading aloud is a wonderful chance to share adventure, intrigue, and emotion—without having to leave your home. And that time together is irreplaceable.

Growing Book by Book is a great website that offers practical advice, resources and book selections that will help you nurture your young budding readers. This is a link to the Ultimate List of Preschool Books:


Vacation Bible School Update * NEW*

New Take-out VBS: For everyone’s health and safety, the Children’s Ministry Team has decided to change the format of our VBS for this summer to a take-home experience. This Take-out VBS will include 4 days of prerecorded electronic content including storytelling, music and more, as well as a take-home bag. This bag will have crafts with directions and supplies, snacks and snack ideas, games and outdoor activity ideas, and an outline with suggestions for a variety of ways to enjoy this experience with your child(ren) at home. The materials will offer lots of flexibility for how you and your children participate. You can enjoy the experience four days in a row, use a little each week all summer, or spend one rainy day immersed in a VBS experience all day long. You chose! Your $10 per child registration fee helps us fund these take-out materials.

Registration will remain open for our new Take-out VBS format through May 12: http://unityfortmill.org/vacation-bible-school

If you are registered for our in-person VBS and do not want to take advantage of this Take-out VBS experience, please cancel your registration by May 5 to receive a full refund and open up a slot for a child who may want to participate in the Take-out VBS. Contact VBS@UnityFortMill.org for questions or assistance with registration or cancellation.

Take-home bags will be available for drive through pickup from 11:00 am -1:00 pm on Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13 in the front circle of the church. More specific instructions will be emailed to all participating families closer to the time.

Reading Giraffe@Home Class

Coach Derick (who also runs our Playball program) and Alphie, the Reading Giraffe mascot, are excited to be running FREE Reading Giraffe @ Home classes on Thursdays at 10 am through May. This class will be run via Zoom—once you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions, a link to join the class, and the password. You will not need to create a Zoom ID to login, but will be prompted to download the Zoom client if you don’t have it on your computer when you click on the class link.

Class sizes will be limited, and you can sign up at: www.FitLitKids.com/Unity

Please feel free to contact Coach Derick with any questions: coachderick@yahoo.com

Scholastic Pop-Up Shop

If you are looking for some great books for your home library, Scholastic has created a "Pop-Up" shop so that your purchases will be sent to your home AND Unity Preschool will receive bonus points! Simply remember to enter our Class Code "GXCK8" in the Promo Code field in your shopping cart.

Adult Reading Recommendations

If you have some extra time on your hands during the quarantine and/or are interested in the research behind why reading to your child is so very important, here are some suggestions for you as well as three good reading websites:

1. Mem Fox has a book for parents about the importance of reading aloud to your children called “Reading Magic.”


2. Are you wondering how and what to read to your child? Check out Jim Trelease's
"Read-Aloud Handbook." The 8th edition discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children as well as including treasury of great read-aloud books.


3. "Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs" by Ellen Galinsky is a valuable resource that reveals important insights into the science of early learning.


4. Instead of a movie or TV show for entertainment, try Vooks. Vooks is a kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks with lesson plans.


5. Demco publishes monthly calendars with early literacy activities that you can do at home with your little ones. The May calendar is filled with creative craft ideas, math and science activities, book suggestions, and more.


6. If you have emergent readers or elementary students at home here is a great list of 27 Awesome Free (or Low-Cost) Websites for Practicing Reading:


On a Lighter Note

Big picture

Unity Preschool Staff "Zooming" Together

Big picture

Top Row (Left to Right):

Ms. Lauren (3's), Ms. Linda (Director) and Ms. Danielle (2's)

Second Row (Left to Right):

Ms. Kellie (4's), Ms. Tee (2's) and Ms. Tami (4's)

Third Row (Left to Right):

Ms. Carolyn (Librarian/Class Helper), Ms. Jen (3's) and Ms. Kelsey (3's)

Bottom Row (Left to Right):

Ms. Maureen (4's), Ms. Heather (4's) and Ms. Sarah (3's)

Unity Preschool

Unity Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and other school-administered programs.