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Reflections from Katie: February 2018

I am excited to report that in our third month of sending out surveys in advance of school council meetings, our response rate has continued to rise. Thank you to all of you for answering these short surveys as a way to contribute your voices to the improvement of our school community. One parent recently shared with me that she found the surveys were actually making her feel more connected to the school community.

Our school council meeting in February focused on reading at home. The numerical survey results were only somewhat illuminating. For example, almost all families understand the importance of reading and understand how reading connects to future academic success. 84% of families are reading aloud to their children a minimum of a few times per week. Almost all families know how to find books that that their children will read. There were about 12% of families who reported that it is not easy to get their child to read. While that is a small number, we discussed, at school council, how important it is for us to help support ALL families having ease getting their child to read.  

The survey results were more illuminating in terms of the responses to the open ended questions of what would you like to know about reading at home, and what would you like the school to know. At our school council meeting, we went through some of the common themes and addressed these. I’ll be sending out the slideshow as a follow up in the next few days (once I address some of the feedback given at school council); or, view the slideshow online. One common worry was about what is considered reading and what is “ok” to read. Are graphic novels ok? Are audiobooks any good? What if my child reads books that are too easy? From our school perspective, we want to be very clear in the message that any books children want to read at home are great! The purpose of home reading is to build a love of reading, build a sense of oneself as a reader who makes choices about reading, and to build a habit. It’s ok to make suggestions to your child, but we feel strongly that anything that gets in the way of your child building a love of reading should not be part of your home reading program.

The other common theme in the open ended responses was about “what is the right level?” Our response to this is similar to the one above. As parents, supporting a home reading program, we don’t want you to be too concerned about a level. If you ARE really worried about your child’s reading progress, we want you to talk to the classroom teacher. They can reassure you and offer supports as well. Most importantly we want children to be reading a lot, and seeing themselves as readers who can make decisions about what to read, when to read.

As always, I truly appreciate your partnership in building a community of readers at Cambridgeport.