It’s been 12 years of training volunteers to become One to One tutors; and always getting the same feedback from parents, that they wished they’d known these reading strategies when their children were learning how to read. As a result Fiona Clare, the Literacy Outreach Coordinator for Kamloops, knew she had get this information out to other parents, but the question was “How?”
“Everyone goes to the Christmas concert!” laughed Clare, saying she felt the best way to get parents to attend a session would be by involving their child. This strategy seems to have worked. More than 50 per cent of grade 1 parents have attended the sessions Clare has already done; including Barriere where an early morning session was hosted on Wednesday, May 18, with close to seventy-five per cent of parents attending.
“It was wonderful to see so many parents or caregivers keen to spend a couple of hours with their child learning how to better support their home reading experience,” said Clare.
Judging from all the happy smiles, everyone had a great start to their day.
Come Read with Me is a free program offered to parents and their grade 1 children through their local elementary school. It takes place first thing in the morning with a light breakfast provided by the school. Parents then learn some simple ways to take the stress out of home reading. Afterwards, they get to spend some one-on-one time with their child practising what they have just learned.
After the session, one parent commented that what she liked was, “learning that it needs to be fun.” She said she had tried to keep it fun at home, but still corrected all the time.
“Now I’m going to try to let it go,” she promised.
“I liked learning the different ways to work with my child so she doesn’t get frustrated,” said another parent.
“What I liked about the session was the pause-prompt-praise and that I don’t need to correct every mistake my child makes,” wrote one parent on the evaluation form.
“I love the idea of having parents come to the school and learn how to read with their child,” said Jody Schilling, Learning Assistance Resource Room Teacher at Barriere Elementary.
“As teachers, we ask parents to read with their child but we often don’t give them the tools of how to do it. The Come Read with Me session presents basic strategies that parents can use that will make reading with their child more meaningful. By having the parents try the strategies at school with their child increases the odds that they will use these strategies at home.”
She added, “It was an excellent session that was extremely valuable to parents of children who are at the beginning stages of reading.”
Each child received a free take home book, and a package which included games, word cards, and a handbook for parents. Children whose parents were unable to attend also received the package.
Funding for the program comes from a Kamloops Raise A Reader grant.