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Viewfinder: Raising Readers At Mohegan Elementary School

Parents Become Teachers In Student Literacy Program

Positive results and parental support from last year’s Raising Readers program led the school to offer the six-week long program again this year.

Montville school district English Language Learners Coordinator Lisa Kaplan said the program is intended to offer strategies to families who “may not have a tradition of reading and promoting literacy in their home” so that their children can become more successful students.

 The program brings parents to the school to learn reading strategies taught by school staff while their children are engaged in literacy activities in another classroom.  Parents and students come together in the latter part of each class to select books from the school library for the families to take home

Speaking of last year’s program, special needs teacher Elizabeth Ashley Ager, who researched and spearheaded the development of Raising Readers at the school, said that “the students showed increased levels of motivation to read, and the students' genre and topic preferences blossomed.”  

In response to parental feedback, each of this year’s six sessions was extended from one hour to one and one half hours and library time was included for parents and students.

Shwu Ching Wang, a Chinese language interpreter, was on hand to help carry the message to Chinese speaking families in the program. Nine Chinese speaking families participated in this year's program that included about 40 families.

Parent Enid Rivera who worked with her 5-year-old son Sam Torres said that the program “taught me to slow down in life and take some slow time with my kids.”

On the last day of the session, she exchanged contact information with one of Sam’s classmates’ mother so that they could stay in touch.

Peggy Vega, who worked with her grandson Noah Hastings this past session said the program offered lots of ideas on getting Noah interested in reading. "Some techniques, some really good book ideas,” she said, adding that participating in the program made reading “ more fun at home.”

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