• FAQs~Frequently Asked Questions:


    vMy child can identify the letters and sounds, but I don't know what should come next.

    Knowing the concepts of print is one of the first indicators that your youngster is getting ready to read. Can your child find the front of the book, the back, point to letters and circle a word with their finger, show you where the print continues on the next line, the next page, and can pick out a few words?


    My child seems to be memorizing the words in the book. They aren't really reading the words.

    Memorizing words and developing a sight word vocabulary is part of reading. Often this is one of the first steps a child displays when learning how to read. Your child is exhibiting the use of the concepts of print. They have seen you read the text and are modeling your example. Now you want to move him/her forward by encouraging the pointing to words on the page. Also, you might want to take some of the words out of the text and make flashcards so that your child begins to identify them in isolation.


    My child is beginning to read but often gets stuck on a word and then just guesses.

    Your child is ready to start applying decoding strategies. We as adults use decoding strategies all the time. Here are some of the strategies you can use with your child:


    Look at the pictures for clues to help figure out the word.

    Say the first sound of the word out loud then the last sound.

    Stretch the word out slowly and put the sounds together to figure out the word.

    Look for a chunk you know (sh, th, ch, wh, etc.), and/or a word part you know (be-, -er, etc.)

    Skip the word and read to the end of the sentence. Try to read the sentence again.

    Try a word that makes sense.

    Look for smaller words in bigger words.

    After you have tried all of the strategies, ask for help.

    *Make sure your child points to each word when reading.

    Helpful website, which also includes comprehension strategies: http://www.realclassroomideas.com/194.html

    My child is beginning to read. What else can I do to help him/her?

    Retelling is an important component of the reading process. After your child has read you their book, ask the following:


    What is the title of the book?

    Who are the characters?

    What is the setting?

    What happened at the beginning, middle and end?

    What is the problem?

    How was the problem solved?

    What was your favorite part?


    What are the books in my child's Look Book bag?

    These are the books the teacher uses during guided reading. These books are the primary homework sent home each day. Please have your child read to you and help him/her apply strategies when they get to tricky words. Reading those books over and over again helps your child develop fluency.

    What is a running record and how often does the teacher give them?

    To determine your child's independent reading level, your child's teacher will administer a running record. Your child will read from a small reader while the teacher records their reading accuracy on a separate sheet. Then your child will be asked to give a full retell of the story which the teacher records. Next, the teacher will ask specific comprehension questions about the text. Inference questions are included in one or more questions. To reach the independent reading level, your child' s score must be 96 percent or above. If your child performs with fluency and ease, the teacher may choose to try the next level up. Running records are usually administered one to two times a marking period or more if needed.


    What does instructional level mean?

    Instructional level is one level higher than your child's independent level. So, if your child reads level B independently, s/he will be instructed on level C. The books in your child's Look Book bag are the books used in guided reading, which is your child's instructional level.


    What is fluency and why is it important?

    Fluency is reading the words like you talk. This is important as it aids with improving your child's comprehension skills. Once your child can read smoothly s/he is then putting more energy into thinking about what the book is about rather than thinking about how to sound out each word.


    What else helps with fluency?

    Being able to identify sight word quickly is important. When you are practicing sight words with your child, make sure s/he can name each word at a glance. Sounding out words and stretching them is great, but not for sight words. When your child is tested on sight words, s/he will not be given credit for those s/he stretches out.


    How often should we practice sight words? Can we go ahead on the list?

    The sight word list is stapled to the inside of your child's daily folder. The teacher tries to assess each child about every week or week and a half. During the marking period, the teacher will test the words until your child misses five in a row at least two different times. Highlighted words are the two next words your child should concentrate on for the week. Highlighted words will be checked frequently. The teacher will highlight two new words once the highlighted words are mastered. Parents may work ahead on the list, but please do not check off the words inside the folder as it is matched with a master list in class. It is recommended that you put the words on index cards to make flashcards, which should remain home.


    How many sight words should my child know?

    By the end of kindergarten, the kindergarten students are expected to know 35-45 words to meet grade level expectations. Of course, all children learn at different rates. If your child is strong in this area, there are lists that go up to 1000 words.


    In addition to flashcards, what else can I do to help my child learn his/her sight words?

    On this website, see the tab for fun activities with sight words. Make this fun for your child. Making this activity more engaging for your child will ensure interest and desire to learn.


    In addition to practicing the books in the Look Book bag and sight words, what else can I do?

    Reading intriguing and exciting chapter books to your child provides your youngster with the opportunity to enrich their vocabulary and comprehension skills. For instance, choosing a book or series that both you and your child enjoy (such as the Harry Potter series…or whatever your child’s interest is~~) opens up book discussions and vocabulary explanations. You can read a chapter or so when it fits into your schedule.  


    How much homework is there in kindergarten?

    Our Everyday Math program provides approximately two home links a week that serve as follow-up activities to the lessons taught in class. The Fundations program has many home links/activities that are sent home weekly. The Step Two health program provides follow-ups to many of the lessons taught in class as well. Of course, sight words should be practiced daily as well as the books in the Look Book bags. Homework is usually not sent home on Fridays, as the weekends should focus on enriching fun family activities.


    Will birthday invitations be distributed in class?

     After the "Friendship List" is distributed in September, birthday invitations should be mailed out.

    How are birthdays celebrated in class?

    Each child receives a birthday crown and certificate in class and the class sings, "Happy Birthday." Simple goodie bags without food items are permitted. If you would like to read a special book to the class, please notify the teacher prior to the birthday so arrangements can be made. If your child celebrates a summer birthday, you can notify the teacher at the end of May and a day in June will be selected.

    What is an I-Message?
    An I-message is a way for your child to express his/her feelings in a strong manner without being mean; that is, assertive. If your child is angry, upset or disappointed with words or actions others have done, s/he can use their "words" in an I-message. The formula for an I-message is as follows:
    I feel ____________________ (name the feeling) when you ___________________ (describe the action) because _________________________(state how/why the action connects to your feelings).  
    An I-message is different from a You-message. In a You-message,  your child uses his/her words to attack another person, make judgments, or sometimes even call the other individual names.