InTENTs Reading, y’all!

specialsGreat reading, fellowship, and fun abide when you pitch some creative tents and read, read, read together!  Such was the event this evening where IMG_6774families joined together to read and visit with another our teachers in cleverly designed areas throughout the main hallway.  From Clifford the Big Red dog under the Big Top to the PoeTREE, we shared great books.  PTO assisted in the Book Fair area IMG_6775where families shopped (and donated) new books.  Special thanks to our LME Family Events Committee, our extraordinary teachers, and our families who came out to celebrate with us.  As one friend noted, “It’s some inTENTs reading, y’all!  🙂


Tutus, Ties, and Books!

tutusIt’s time for the annual Tutus and Ties Dance sponsored by our PTO this Saturday, February 21st from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in our cafe.  LME Daughters and Daddies are invited to dress for success and cut a rug on the dance floor during this festive evening of fun.  From the chocolate fountain and gourmet treats to the fun photos and group dances, everyone enJOYs this annual tradition.

Don’t forget to join us on Thursday evening this week bookfair1from 6:30 until 8:00 for our InTENTs Family Reading Event throughout the hallways of LME.  Starting with the PTO meeting in the cafe at 6:30, learners and families are invited to experience the love of reading in grade-level-sponsored tents down the main hallway.  Stop in the library as well to check out the Book Fair (and maybe purchase some books for Spring Break reading too!).  🙂

From tutus and ties to lots of books and reading, here’s hoping you join us for the festivities this week!

Good Reader Habits!

While in conversation with a parent the other day regarding reading and our balanced literacy approach in MISD, we visited about the ninebva-7 habits good readers need in their toolbox to be successful lifelong readers.  Perhaps these sound familiar…

Before reading begins:

  1. Check it out!  Preview a selection before reading to anticipate content and plan how to read it.  For example, we do “book walks” during shared reading event where we “walk” through the book looking at clues, illustrations, and concepts in print to spark interest and pique curiosity.  When in the library, you can often see a child pick a book, browse/book walk it, and choose it.
  2. Think about what you know about the subject.  Drawing on personal experience or background knowledge relating to the selection helps to improve comprehension.
  3. Decide what you need to know.  Establishing a purpose for reading helps the reader to focus on the content or message.

While reading:

  1. Stop and ask, “How does this connect to what I know?”  Connecting content being read to prior knowledge or information helps the reader to organize ideas and identify relationships.
  2. Stop and ask, “Does this make sense?”  Using self-checking strategies helps the reader determine personal understanding of what is being read.
  3. Stop and ask, “If it doesn’t make sense, what can I do?”  Clear up confusing parts by re-reading, defining a new word through context clues, or using other learning strategies practiced with the teacher in small groups.  (It always amazes me what I see our learners using when they struggle; their coping skills are truly extraordinary!)

Finally, after reading:

  1. React to what was read.  Decide what has been learned, determine personal feelings, or think about other points of view (author’s intent).
  2. Check to see what is remembered.  Pause, reflect, react, and share what has been learned immediately after reading for better recall at a later time.  This is why you see students in classrooms talking and sharing about their reading; it’s part of the process to overall comprehension.  If you teach something to someone else, you know it better too!
  3. Use what was read!  Assign a value to what was read to better internalize the content so new ideas form.

It’s an exciting process, this learning to read and reading to learn!  The BEST way you can encourage your reader is to model and participate in the process daily–no exceptions and no excuses . . . READ, READ, READ!  🙂

Note:  I owe special thanks and praise to my parents, Sam and Brenda Folsom, who both always modeled good reading for me and with me…even to this day.  🙂


READ in the new year…

It’s our annual LME tradition to READ In The New Year on the Friday we return from holiday break each year.  Today, we read in 2014 seconds, which is actually 33 minutes and 34 seconds (for all you mathematicians checking our work today).  From novels to e-readers, our classrooms were readinthenewyear2014filled with all manner of great reading materials, picture books, and special “friends” to assist in the process.  Even the office staff enJOYed some time for reading and sharing today.

Special thanks to Ms. Daniell for sharing the attached picture of first grade friends celebrating their reading success in true 2014 form!  Here’s hoping you find time soon to READ in the new year!  🙂

Note:  It is a campus goal to assist every learner in becoming a lifelong reader.  We encourage you to check out for a special reading program our school purchased for students to enJOY books at school and at home everyday.  (login = laruemillerelem; password = books)

Give Thanks for Each Day!

My Kinder friends in Mrs. Nanney’s class surprised me today with a random act of kindness.  You see, they know a few things about me:  I love books; I love reading and writing, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (just to GiveThanksEachDAyname a few).  They each signed and gave me the sweetest book ever…Give Thanks For Each Day by Steve Metzger.  They wanted me to share the text with you:

Give thanks for each day. Give thanks for each night.
For colorful flowers; for stars shining bright.
Give thanks for new crayons; red, green, and blue.
Give thanks for the moments when wishes come true.
Give thanks for the train that chugs down the track.
Give thanks for the comfort when Mommy comes back.
Give thanks for a puzzle, a favorite bear.
The thrill when you’re lifted way up in the air.
A hug!  A parade!  A bath!  A new toy!
The things in our world that fill us with JOY!
Give thanks for a walk by a lake in the park.
Give thanks for the light in our home after dark.
Give thanks for the snowflakes that fall from above.
For getting together with people you love.
Give thanks for sweet ice cream; for ducks in a row.
Give thanks for great stories, which help you to grow.
Give thanks for the ocean; give thanks for the sand.
The sweet, simple pleasure when we’re holding hands.
Give thanks for “I love you,” the best words to say.
Give thanks for each night. Give thanks for each day!

Thanks to these thoughtful young readers who know me so well; thanks for sharing the JOYs of everyday simple things and reminding us all to Give Thanks For Each Day!  🙂

Oh, the places we’ll go…

I had the honor today of reading to a sweet new friend coming to our Printcampus this year.  He chose the Dr. Suess book Oh The Places You’ll Go as his preference and we gathered together on the sofa for a few moments of shared reading time while his mom completed her “homework.”  I was instantly struck by this child’s questions, his curiosity, and his charming wit, not to mention his enthusiasm for learning to read in the days ahead.  “I will read with my new teacher on the first day, won’t I?”  (and believe me when I say I will make certain this occurs).  In fact, his entire attitude about starting school in a new place warmed my heart!  You see, this is his fifth school in one year of formal education; he is accustomed to moving and making new friends at a tender young age.  His resiliency and desire for learning are strong; he forges ahead with great passion.  His parting comment to me today: “We ARE off to great places so we’re on our way, Mrs. Van!”  🙂  Welcome to LaRue Miller Elementary little friend; oh the places we’ll go indeed!

WHY reading is important…

Reading is everywhere!  Reading is the key to opening doors and avenues for every learner, no matter the age.  Whether it is success in school or society, a child’s ability to read is essential.  The written word is everywhere in our global lives and must be mastered…simple, huh?!

Of course I’m biased, but reading, just for the enJOYment of the experience, is a treasure to be savored.  Baby ReadingIt can take you to new heights on any given day in any given situation.  Reading stimulates the imagination through various genres—whether delving into a juicy mystery, solving the challenge of a crossword puzzle, devouring a recipe, or developing a wealth of knowledge on a new topic, reading is the catalyst for everything we do.

You are your child’s first teacher and your responsibility for the reading process starts long before entering the school doors.  Readiness involves inspiring your child to read through your example, making reading fun, and ensuring reading is a critical part of daily family life.  Making time for reading and creating an environment filled with non-stop reading experiences can be a challenge to every busy family, however, we know children emulate what is created around them.  What does your family do to support reading daily in your home?

Attaching positive experiences to the reading process for children creates an association of reading and enJOYment.  Even 5-yr.-olds still like “lap time” with a parent or grandparent!  Reading items in the grocery store while you shop, reading billboards and logos or signs as you drive, reading menus at restaurants—all these daily activities help in the overall process of learning to read!  A light bulb will go on when you least expect it and suddenly, you’ll find your child will read everything to you!

Library or bookstore cards can be a celebration of reading.  Visits to the library, a book store, or book fair should become a routine part of family life.  Encouraging a child to discover and find books on his or her own is rewarding.  After all, books personally chosen are usually books read because interest is there first; these same books often create memories and experiences the child uses later in life.

There are really two important aspects to the reading process:

  • Learning to unlock the word sounds
  • Understanding what those words mean

As a parent or teacher, children’s literature becomes an important tool to teach young learners not only words, but the meaning of what they read—those tricky comprehension skills.  Asking questions during the reading process enhances comprehension because it allows the learner to explain what she did (or perhaps did not) understand during reading.  Children experience life lessons during the reading process as well.  While hearing (or reading) a story, the child begins to relate her own life experiences and thoughts to what is read while gaining additional insight into who she is and what her ideas are.

We have many ideas to challenge our learners in their reading in the coming school year and we invite YOU to actively participate in this quest with us!  We can all agree, reading is important…now we need to unlock the desire in every single child this year to become a lifelong reader and learner!  Please join us!  🙂

Live good…

“If we live good lives, the times are also good.  As we are, such are the times.”  ~St. Augustine~

A fourth grade friend stopped by the office this morning to share a book with me.  You see, he picked it out and wanted to read it with me.  I have to admit…being a Thursday morning and knowing I had several items to “check off the list” before leaving the campus for a principal meeting, I nearly asked for a rain-check for later in the day.  Fortunately, my loving office staff insisted I stop for a moment (they are called bulldogs for a reason, you know!).  🙂

  • Child:  This little book screamed you, Mrs. Van!
  • Me:  WOW…I love the title and your passion for it already!
  • Child:  Well, my teacher says it should say Live Well, but who cares about grammar anyway?!  🙂  It’s like that Life Is Good book and t-shirt you shared and love so much.  This book is filled with quotes and you can use them in your morning message now.
  • Me:  Let’s read then . . . (we spend about 15 minutes reading and talking through each page filled with inspirational thought, quotes, and challenges to live by daily).

You see, this learner, even at the tender age of 9, obviously makes a choice everydaylivegood to live good by doing good…like sharing a book with me, talking about ideas, doing his best to figure out his plan.  It’s humbling to share with him.  As he handed me the book to keep, he left me with these words:  “Look for what is good and you will find it.”  Live good!  🙂

Organized vs. Disorganized, Part VI

Note:  This is the next in a series from the book Organizing the Disorganized Child:  Simple Strategies to Succeed in School by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran…enJOY!  🙂

So…we’ve identified organizational style, chosen and set up supplies, and organizingfollowed the paper trail from school to home and back again…It’s time to charge forward with Super Study Skills!  The most powerful concept at this point to is ASK QUESTIONS.  Learners should always question everything because questioning is the key to effective learning.  There are three parts to consider now:

1.  Effective Reading:  Like all learning, reading starts with actually asking (and answering) several questions.  The reading technique the authors discuss most is called SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review).  This strategy  is based on the active learning process of asking questions.  The learner begins by surveying or previewing the material, then making a mental map of where they want to go by laying out questions to answer.  As they read, section by section, learners ask questions by reading, reciting, and eventually reviewing the answers to the questions.  A quick way to come up with questions is to turn headings into questions so the learner can review all the information at the end once again.

2.  Effective Note-taking:  This also requires asking lots of questions and reviewing information weekly.  Based on the work of Dr. Walter Pauk from Cornell University, the simple system the authors recommend (Cornell Method) provides more than just notes; young learners might actually use it!  This note-taking technique divides a sheet of notebook paper into columns and has the child take notes in the larger, right-hand column.  At home, the child asks what key concepts can serve as hooks/cues for the rest of the information given.  The hooks/cues are written next to the corresponding material in the left column.  At the bottom of the page, the child summarizes the material.  The authors also discuss visual organizers (we use Thinking Maps here at LME), outlines, and flash cards.

3.  Effective Test-taking Techniques:  This section is so important, we will devote the next installment on sharing ideas. 🙂

Once the material is read and effective notes are taken, the learner is now ready to study for the test.  Planning a study schedule, rewriting or reviewing all the materials, using a study buddy, and other ideas abound as the learner prepares to share back the knowledge acquired.  Being able to synthesize the material into as few key concepts as possible is a great learning technique for school and life; besides, when you can teach to someone, you know it well!  🙂

READ in the New Year!

IMG_06722013…time to READ in the new year at LME!  All students and staff members spent at least 2013 seconds today (that’s exactly 33 minutes and 55 seconds) READing in the new year during our annual event.  Dressed in cphotoomfy clothes accompanied by pillows, blankies, animal friends, and other cushy items, everyone stopped in the midst of their busy daily schedule and indulged in some old-fashioned reading time.  No tests…no comprehension questions…no reader-responses…just READing!

Sometimes, the greatest things learned are the simplest things to complete.  Here’s hoping 2013 brings simply outstanding opportunities for all of us to READ throughout the year!  🙂

Note:  Speaking of READing in the new year, we are looking forward to our author visit next week with Mr. Lucas Miller on Thursday, January 17th!