K-4 Language Arts Newsletter

Parent Information for Reading and Writing - Fall 2020

Reading - Stamina, Volume and Engagement Are Key!

Thank you so much for your support in ensuring that your child reads on a daily basis, whether this is on RAZ Kids, Epic, our school media center site, or (the best option!) a book. Reading every day is critical to maintaining students’ reading volume (amount), reading stamina (length of time they are able to sustain independent reading) and reading engagement, which supports a love of reading! It is important that children have choice in what they read, and that they are able to learn about their interests through reading.

On the days that your child is home, please encourage him/her to find a cozy spot to read, one that is free from distractions. Additionally, your child should be aware of his/her reading stamina. It can be helpful to set a timer and track stamina on a chart, so that your child builds awareness and takes ownership over growing his/her stamina.

There is no better way to grow as a reader than reading!

Big picture

Writing Support - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Writing can often be challenging for elementary students, and this is to be expected! While reading involves information intake, writing involves output, and that can be difficult, especially in the unique structure of this school year..

  • Focus on PROCESS, not PRODUCT!

    • If your child can brainstorm ideas, plan out her story, and orally rehearse their writing, this is just as important as what she is able to actually compose.

    • Celebrate the writing process, not just a finished product!

  • Oral Rehearsal and Planning

    • Have your child say his story aloud - not just what he plans to write about, but the actual words he will write. Rehearse more than once.

    • TIP--You might even record this rehearsal, so that your child can replay the story as he writes, pausing the recording to write each sentence.

    • TIP--Plan across pages by sketching at the top of each page or writing a “key word” to remember the plan. Then, if your child returns to the piece the next day, he will remember what he had planned to write on each page.

  • Spelling

    • For K-2 families, encourage invented (phonetic) spelling--

      • “stretch out the word to hear each of the sounds and write a letter for each sound.”

      • Focus on matching letters to sounds, not conventional spelling.

    • TIP: Personal Word Wall--If there are words your child asks how to spell repeatedly, you can add them to a blank word wall, which can include words just for your child!

  • Time/Frustration/Fatigue

    • Utilize a timer to try to write for 10 minutes, taking a break if needed. Then, build from there as appropriate for your child's age.

    • If your child is struggling on a particular day, consider substituting out the writing assignment for the day with a journal prompt or free writing, and be sure to contact his teacher regarding the need for additional support.

    • TIP: Encourage your child to track her own stamina using a timer and recording the number of minutes she was able to work on her writing piece, in order to encourage ownership and goal setting.

If writing is causing stress for you or your child, it’s time to stop and move on to the next activity.

Big picture

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Instruction

Please be sure that your child watches the asynchronous mini lesson videos that are shared for reading, writing and word work each day. These videos provide access and exposure to grade level curriculum for your child. Your child's teacher will also meet with your child in small groups to reinforce skills and differentiate instruction. Teachers also spend time reviewing work that is submitted in our learning management systems (Seesaw and Google Classroom). These are just some of the ways that teachers are able to gain information about your child as a learner.

In addition, our hope is that, by providing asynchronous instruction and independent practice activities, students will be able to take breaks as needed throughout their day. This is a very unique learning situation for students, and we want to be sure that we support their social and emotional development, as well as their academic growth. Be sure that your child takes time to go outside each day, when possible. Brain breaks are important and key to helping your child to be available for learning!

Big picture