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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Connecting School and Home Put It Into Practice | Connecting School and Home

Choose Activities

In this section, you will apply what you have learned to your own teaching. The three activities are designed to assist you in developing resources for promoting home-school literacy connections. Choose one or more from the list below to practice in your classroom.

Activity 1.
Plan a Parent-Teacher Conference

Outline the information exchange between parent and teacher.

Activity 2.
Publish a Newsletter

Publish a newsletter to inform parents of literacy instruction, student work, and important events in the school and class.

Activity 3.
Create a Handbook

Collect literacy resources for each workshop session in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices.

Plan a Parent-Teacher Conference

In this activity, you will develop a parent-teacher conference guide for one of your students.

Parent-teacher conferences allow parents and teachers to exchange information about student achievement, interests, and progress. Careful planning will ensure that both teachers and parents are informed about how to support children’s literacy learning.

In planning for your parent-teacher conference:

  1. Choose a student who is having difficulty with reading and writing.
  2. Print the Conference Planner (PDF). Complete the sections to help you focus on important information, questions, and documentation of reading and writing to share in the conference.
  3. Gather any support material you want to share with the parent to illustrate their child’s performance. These may include writing samples and assessment results. Consider how you will explain any assessment results parents may have difficulty understanding.

Assignment: Submit a completed Conference Planner.

Publish a Newsletter

In this activity, you will design a parent newsletter to facilitate information sharing between teacher and parent.

One way to build strong home-school connections is to communicate frequently with parents about your literacy program and the progress of students. A parent newsletter can inform parents about specific projects, instructional practices, and materials that your students are engaged in throughout the year. This information can also provide a basis for parent questions in other forms of communication such as parent-teacher conferences, open house, and classroom visits.

Use the following Parent Newsletter format to model your own. You may want to use a simple publishing program to design your newsletter.

Parent Newsletter
Consider how often you will publish the newsletter.

What We’re Learning

  • Describe the topic, theme, or curriculum unit the class is studying.
  • Describe any special projects the class is working on.
  • Explain literacy strategies and skills the class is practicing.

What We’re Reading

  • List the book titles used for shared reading, guided reading, and read-aloud.
  • List some of the students’ favorite books.

Our Work

  • Include student-writing samples that illustrate the literacy strategies and skills practiced in class.
  • Allow students to contribute to the newsletter with submitted work or ideas.

Suggestions for Parents

  • Provide home-reading and writing tips for parents.
  • Suggest home literacy activities to support learning in school.
  • Encourage parents to communicate further with you.
  • Encourage parents to contribute to the class with their time.

Important Events

  • Highlight important events in the class and school schedule (e.g., testing schedule).
  • Highlight upcoming events parents should attend (e.g., conferences, school plays).
  • Highlight opportunities for parents to become involved with the class and school (e.g., PTO meetings, reading with students).

Note: The newsletter should be accessible to all parents. In some situations, you may need to translate the newsletter into the parent’s native language.

Assignment: Submit a copy of your Parent Newsletter.


Create a Handbook

In this ongoing activity, you will collect literacy resources in a Handbook of Effective Literacy Practices to use in your classroom.

Do this activity with your colleagues to create a comprehensive collection of resources and instructional plans.

Today, you will create a section focused on building connections between home and school. Include resources you already use, and plan to use in the future. Place these resources in the section for Connecting School and Home. You may want to include:

  • the chart you completed in Session Preparation
  • the completed Parent-Teacher Conference Planner from Activity 1
  • the Parent Newsletter you created in Activity 2
  • a list of parent involvement practices you implement throughout the year
  • a list of suggestions you provide to parents for working with their children at home
  • parent surveys or questionnaires regarding home literacy practices
  • samples of published brochures for parents (See Related Resources)

Assignment: Submit a copy of your completed Handbook at the end of the workshop series.

Wrap Up: Reflect on Your Learning

In this section, you will review and revise your notes on connecting school and home.

Review the notes you have taken during this session. Return to the Connecting School and Home Chart you completed at the beginning of the session. Add any new ideas and practices for promoting family literacy. Use your revised chart and the following questions to reflect on the ideas presented in this session. In a paragraph, respond to the following questions:

  • How did the lecture support or change your beliefs about home literacy?
  • What questions do you still have?
  • What new practices will you implement to promote school and home connections?
  • What challenges do you still face? What do you want to know more about?

Assignment: Submit your written reflection.

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-681-2

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