Here we are on another Friday with a winter storm! The roads are clearing now, but they were pretty messy this morning. Hopefully this is the last one, and spring is on its way.
As it is March, here at GLPS we turn our attention to March is Reading Month celebrations. Throughout our elementary schools and Hayes, the next few weeks are full of activities that highlight the importance of reading. I encourage you to be involved in the following ways:
Elementary teachers across our district are sending out sign ups to invite parents and community members into classrooms to read to students. Listening to books read out loud is not only fun and engaging for kids, but hearing an adult read fluently, and discussing the book afterwards, helps develop fundamental reading skills. Thanks to those who were in classrooms reading this week and who have signed up for subsequent weeks, and I encourage you to work with your child’s teacher to come in and read if you have not already signed up. I know the highlight of my weeks in March is the time I get to spend in classrooms, reading to students.
If your schedule does not allow you to come in and read, that is certainly okay, and we understand. However, at all times, but especially during March is Reading Month, it is just as powerful for parents to read with their children at home. Research shows that one of the most effective ways to help children grow into strong readers is helping them engage in reading or listening to books that interest them. Set aside time each day to have your children read, or to read to them; it truly makes a difference!
At Hayes, all students and staff are taking part in an all school read with the book Caterpillar Summer, by Gillian McDunn. It is a story about a girl and her little brother who learn about family and navigating the unexpected. I encourage all Hayes families to carve out time to read the book and discuss it. Throughout the month, there are a variety of activities planned at school to create space for students to discuss the book, but the true power comes from the reading and the discussion as a family at home. As the dad of a Hayes student myself, I know that I have enjoyed reading the book along with my daughter.
While March is Reading Month activities are usually centered around elementary and intermediate schools, March is a good time for our secondary students to think about how reading impacts them as well. Understanding how to read complex texts is a skill that certainly helps in middle and high school, and is essential for success in college. Students gain those skills by reading, whether it is purely for enjoyment or for academic purposes. In addition, spring is the time we start looking ahead to the SAT and PSAT, which 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders take after spring break. There are many ways to practice for these assessments, which are heavily focused on reading and math skills, but Khan Academy has free resources that allow students to receive personalized PSAT and SAT practice questions, which can help students increase their scores and sharpen their skills before the tests.
A child’s ability to read unlocks doors in school and beyond, and it takes all of us to ensure that our students leave GLPS with the literacy skills they need to succeed. Thank you for all you do to support our work; we appreciate your partnership and the trust you place in us to educate your students.
As always, I am #proudtobeacomet!
Dr. Bill Barnes
Superintendent of Schools