In an effort to help students become better readers, Eastside Elementary School recently hosted a lunchtime Parent Development Workshop designed to teach parents how to encourage reading at home. Lunch for those attending was provided by the school. The workshop was conducted by school principal LaKeyda Burnett, who stressed the importance of “time investment” on a daily basis.
“Twenty minutes should be your target goal each day,” Burnett told parents. “If you can’t commit to twenty minutes, reserve as much time as you can and be consistent. Focus on reading material that is of interest to your child, and read aloud with them. If they see it’s important to you, it will become important to them.”
Burnett said research has shown that daily reading improves a child’s math skills, and fiction books have been shown to build character and make children more compassionate. Reading also boosts self-esteem, communication skills and advanced vocabulary.
“You are your child’s first teacher,” Burnett added. “We want to provide you with the resources and support necessary for your child’s success, and my door will always be open to address your needs and concerns.”
In addition to reading at home daily with their children, Burnett suggested that parents engage in simple exercises such as playing word games or creating a “word wall” that can be interchanged to teach their kids new words each week. Once the child learns to spell the word and understands its meaning, they can then begin using it in a sentence.
“We try to offer our parents some type of activity on a monthly basis. This was the second time this school year that we’ve held an event during school hours,” said Burnett. “Realizing how parent work schedules differ, we want to accommodate as many of them as we can by providing both day and evening activities.”
In addition to live discussion with the parents, age appropriate material was distributed containing additional information available through other sources. For example, one of the handouts featured the “50 Best iPad Apps for Users with Reading Disabilities,” any of which parents can download free of charge. Others provided tips specific to each child’s grade level.
The next daytime activity for parents is scheduled in March. Anyone wishing additional information should contact Eastside Elementary School at 334-864-8274.