Workshops Teach Parents New Approaches to Learning
Sunday, June 10, 2012 • 9:37pm
SUMMIT, NJ - Learning the “3 Rs” isn’t quite what it used to be, and even parents need some assistance in understanding the new educational approaches and terminology used in teaching the basics. But a program developed and delivered by educators from Summit’s Lincoln-Hubbard School, enabled parents of Summit’s elementary to understand new teaching concepts and to guide their children to becoming lifelong readers.
The program, “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You,” was developed by Lincoln-Hubbard School principal Matt Carlin and second grade teachers Deborah Yendrick and Abigail MacDonald. The two teachers presented the program at Jefferson School in a series of five evening workshops held monthly from January through April. The program was open to parents of elementary age students in the Summit Schools and was funded by an SEF grant, supplemented by Title I funding. Translators for non-English speaking parents and babysitting were provided at the workshops. The babysitting was courtesy of LCJ Summit Middle School eighth graders who were fulfilling some of their community service requirements.
“Our main goal was to educate parents about how reading is now being taught, so they can help their students at home,” Yendrick said. “We wanted to increase parents’ participation in their child’s learning experience.”
Since the Columbia University Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Workshop was introduced to Summit’s elementary students a few years ago, the students have developed a passion for reading and writing, explained MacDonald. To support this enthusiasm at home, she said the parents needed to become aware of these concepts so they could meet the needs of their children and partner with them in their enthusiasm.
The workshop topics covered the innovative methods of the Reading and Writing Workshop approach:
Workshop 1, “How to Create Lifelong Readers,” included information on “Just-Right” books, which are leveled reading books that meet a child’s personal reading skills and challenges. Workshop 2, “Word Study,” taught parents some reading activities they could share with their children at home. In Workshop 3, “Booktalk,” the teachers explained to parents the importance of conversing with their children and building their vocabulary. The final session, “Putting the Pieces Together,” instructed parents on how to engage with their children in word study and reading activities.
“Based on feedback we received from teachers throughout the district, it was clear that because the parents were aware of what the children were doing in school, they were spending more quality learning time with them at home,” said Yendrick.
The teachers agreed that they achieved their goals through the program. “The workshops made such an impact on the parents, and I’m so happy about that,” said Yendrick. “The parents understand the concepts and strategies and are now more involved in helping their children learn.”
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