Below you will find classroom party food guidelines:

For our three designated parties per year; only pre-packaged food items, with a nutritional label, will be allowed, only one of the food items may be a food of minimalnutritional value (FMNV) for each child. This will increase awareness in our children and parents, and eliminate a potential life-threatening danger from food allergies. We really appreciate your support and assistance in protecting our students.

Below are a few suggestions of non-food items that could be used to celebrate our three designated parties in the classrooms:
Mascot or school pencils


Beginning readers and their parents will delight in PBS KIDS Island, where kids can play free reading games and activities with their parents, teachers, and caregivers. The games make learning to read fun by featuring many of the popular PBS KIDS characters from Sesame Street, Super Why, and others. Parents and teachers simply register (for free) on the site, login, and then allow their kids to play the games. Once your child completes one level, they can advance to the next more challenging one by playing a different game. A progress tracker allows parents and teachers to see which games their child has completed as well as the skill areas the child has developed.

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"Why can't I skip my 20 minutes of reading tonight?" Let's figure it out ---MATHEMATICALLY

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Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits,
Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days
Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.
One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:
Which student would you expect to read better?
Which student would you expect to know more?
Which student would you expect to write better?
Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
Which student would you expect to be more successful in school....and in life?

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*If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is five years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!

*Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week, and the child's hungry mind lose 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.

*A kindergarten student who has not been read aloud to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.

*Therefore...30 minutes daily = 900 hours
30 minutes weekly = 130 hours
Less than 30 minutes weekly = 60 hours

Guess you now understand why reading daily is so very important. Why not have family night reading? It is great to just shut off the television for 20-30 minutes and read... and share.

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Source: U.S. Department of Education, America Reads Challenge (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader." Washington D.C.

Providing a Literacy-Rich Home Environment

Literacy development is a continuous process that begins in infancy when babies are first exposed to language, books, and stories. Its roots are in the home, with branches extending to other environments.

Books are the key ingredient to creating a literacy-rich home environment. Families can support language and literacy learning by creating a home atmosphere in which reading, writing, talking, and listening are a natural part of daily life.

Literacy-rich homes and families:

  • Establish a regular time and place for daily read-aloud sessions, such as before bed or during bath time.
  • Keep on hand a variety of reading materials: picture books, chapter books, atlases, dictionaries, magazines, and newspapers. Then also get library cards for everyone and use them often.
  • Share their love of books and reading. Parents may say to children, "This was my favorite book when I was your age" or "I can't wait to start my new book."
  • Talk about what they read and encourage children to think, solve problems, and make predictions. Parents may discuss the books a child is reading, then ask questions such as, "Did you ever...?" or "How would you feel if that happened to you?"
  • Have plenty of paper and writing tools.
  • Store books and writing materials in places children can reach.
  • Have frequent conversations with each child, as well as with the family as a whole. Parents should encourage everyone to express their ideas, opinions, and feelings.
  • Reinforce language and literacy skills by doing puzzles and playing games that reinforce literacy, such as Lotto, Candy Land, Old Maid, Concentration, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit.
  • Model reading and writing for pleasure and for specific uses, such as making a shopping list.
  • Respond positively to children's reading and writing efforts.
  • Set aside plenty of time for reading by balancing time devoted to sports, television, and other activities.

These strategies tell children that reading and writing are important lifelong activities that are fun and useful. Families can also show children how much they value reading and writing by building partnerships with child development programs and schools.

Source: RIF Exchange Show #103.