Early Literacy is a child's ability to read, write, speak, compute, and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function in a K-3 classroom. The West New York School District is committed to providing a comprehensive Early Literacy program for all our students.
All of our classrooms are filled with many leveled books for all children no matter their reading level. We have also provided a library center stocked with books in each classroom. A committee representing all K-3 teachers in the district selected the high quality literature that has been carefully chosen for our classroom libraries. Each of our K-3 classrooms has a writing center, a listening center, a technology center, and a math center.
Our K-3 reading period is a 90-minute uninterrupted block of time during which all types of reading skills are taught. Our reading classes provide flexible small-group instruction, which enables the teacher to work with several groups during the day that have similar needs. In West New York, we are striving for all children to become independent readers and writers who are knowledgeable, strategic, motivated, and socially interactive. Our goal is to provide an effective balanced literacy program.
We believe that individual learning is essential and in combination with strong classroom instruction, we are giving children the best chance for success. We believe that with appropriate intervention, almost all can learn to read, provided instruction is intensive and begins early. During our individualized lessons, we stress the importance of phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. This can be developed through repeatedly hearing, saying, and singing nursery rhymes, simple poems and songs. During the lesson, we practice oral reading fluency because it is essential for good comprehension and enjoyable reading experiences. We all know that children vary enormously from one another in their instructional needs; therefore, to be most effective, instruction must be adapted to the needs of individual children.
Family Literacy is getting parents and the entire family involved in the child's education. It's about reading aloud to your child daily and then asking him/her questions about what was read. Research says that children who engage in daily discussions about what they read are more likely to become critical readers and learners. Family Literacy is about sharing your knowledge and experiences so that your child can make connections to what has been read. It's about retelling a story, so that the child knows and understands sequence. It's about hearing words so that his/her vocabulary can improve and therefore his comprehension and fluency will improve. It's about talking and listening. Reading aloud to your child is probably the single most important factor in building the knowledge required for success in reading. Reading aloud, with children participating actively, helps children learn new words, learn more about the world, learn about written language, and see the connection between words that are spoken and words that are written. Storybook reading, done in the context of sharing experiences, ideas, and opinions, is a highly demanding mental activity for children.
You can read to your child every night. If you don't read or write in English it doesn't matter. Read in the language that you feel most comfortable. The West New York Public Library has a terrific children's section filled with high quality literature. Take your youngster to the library and let him/her select books. Always show an interest in your child's homework and make certain that you look it over every evening. Turn off the TV-allow only an hour or so of TV nightly. Most importantly, READ, READ, READ to your child! Before you read a story ask your child to predict what the story might be about. Talk about the pictures and illustrations. After you read a story, ask questions about the story. Have your child retell the story in sequence. Try to connect the story to your own life experiences. Reading is also an excellent way of bonding with your child. It says, I have time for you-you're important to me. Let him/her see that reading is important and is a priority in your home.