National Reading Month is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading for all students and their families, and at Roseville Community Schools, it’s a bonus boost to the year-round effort of providing learners with opportunities to pick up a book and read.
Without the fundamental skill of reading, all milestones of a successful education are much more difficult to achieve, says Dave Rice, Roseville Community Schools Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Curriculum. That’s why the Roseville Community Schools district works hard to emphasize the value of early reading experiences and elevate opportunities for early learners to include reading in all aspects of their lives.
“Ultimately, we want to make sure kids understand the importance of reading, and help them fall in love with it,” Rice says. “We want to help them want to finish a book, and then pick up another one like it.”
Early learners at Roseville Community Schools have access to unique targeted reading instruction and interventions to make reading skill-building an individualized experience based on student needs.
“We use a screener and digital assessment tool for all of our kids, which helps us identify an individual student’s reading level, and helps us determine if they need any intervention,” Rice says.
If a young learner needs help in any particular skill related to reading, they have access to an online program, both in school and at home, to boost vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness and comprehension.
Engaging K-2 students to build a strong reading foundation
Roseville Community Schools recognizes the importance of the Michigan third-grade reading law and is taking steps to support K-2 students with an individual reading improvement plan to help kids catch up if they need to.
“Every school has an early literacy specialist, who is trained and licensed, to work with the classroom teacher to identify those students and build a reading plan with parent input,” Rice explains. “We are one of the only districts in Macomb County with specific early literacy specialists at the ratio we have them in our schools.”
In addition to specialists who “push into” the classroom to engage students in small group work, Roseville has interventionists that “pull out” students from the classroom who need a higher level of attention, using grant funding for these roles.
Big reading boost during National Reading Month
For National Reading Month at Roseville’s seven elementary schools, students and families have the opportunity to learn about the value of reading for education and for personal enjoyment. Amy Yee, early literacy specialist in two Roseville elementary schools, leads a family literacy event and invites all first-grade students and parents to engage in center-based literacy games. This event helps parents learn more about how to encourage reading and what types of books can best engage young minds.
“One of our activities for March is Reading Month is giving kids a coupon if students are caught reading on their own,” Yee says. “We will have a drawing every week, and winners can pick out a book to take home.” Both of Yee’s schools opted for a sports-themed reading month, and, to tie in with March Madness, will read books, answer comprehension questions and play basketball.
Early literacy should begin at birth, Yee says. She encourages expectant families to ask for picture books as baby gifts, and spend time reading to infants, toddlers and preschoolers as they grow. “Technology is so prominent, so if you are in the car, don’t put your phone in your child’s hands. Instead, read signs and have early reading talks,” Yee says. “These oral conversations are valuable to literacy and that’s where it starts.”
To encourage reading, parents can seek out topics their children will enjoy, make accessible books appropriate for their reading level, take trips to the public library, start afterschool neighborhood book clubs, read aloud with their child and suggest reading more books by the same author. As great reading role models, parents can even have their children “catch them reading” for pleasure at home.
“Our overall goal, and it’s constant, is to help parents and students understand the importance of reading for every area of society,” Rice says. “They need it for all of their subjects, to read the newspaper, to work online and just to understand the working world. Reading is the building block of everything they learn, and that includes math, science, and social studies, not just reading class.”
Content brought to you by Roseville Community Schools. For more information, visit rosevillepride.org.