Fletcher UPK’s Encourages Literacy Through Family Engagement

Fletcher Elementary School 3-year-old UPK families read with their children during a recent Family Engagement Literacy event at the school.

“Do you see the fish on the front of the book?” asked Fletcher Elementary School 3-year-old UPK teacher, Mary Moran, to her class pointing to the book, The Rainbow Fish. “What do you see?”

“Lots of colors! Lips! Fins!” said the students.

“Yes, let’s take a picture walk. What do you notice about where the fish is – the setting of the book? Is the fish in the sea? Is he under the water? Who do you think is the main character in the book? Is there a problem in the story? We don’t know if there is a problem to be solved until we read the story.”

Mrs. Moran demonstrated reading narrative story elements for fiction stories to her 3-year-old UPK students’ families during a recent Family Engagement Literacy event. The purpose of the Fletcher UPK event was to give families a snapshot of the types of literacy activities their children do in the classroom each day. Once Mrs. Moran finished her lesson, family members participated in a related sequencing activity with their child using the book, Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story that they were able to take home. Sequencing uses pictures to re-tell the beginning, middle, and end of the book. Families also received a graphic organizer that is used in the classroom to help identify narrative story elements (character, setting, problem/solution and plot). Families can use the graphic organizer to identify narrative story elements when reading with their child at home.

Fletcher’s Family Engagement Literacy event is occurring in all UPK classrooms in the district as part of the Scholastic “Engaging Families in Children’s Literacy Development: A Complete Workshop Series” that was given to district UPK teachers in October during a training for Family Engagement with JPS Instructional Coach Brandi Meacham. The series includes a set of books for each child, as well as, materials for teachers to use for implementing family engagement activities in the classroom.

Fletcher’s first 3-year-old UPK family engagement literacy event was in December. Families learned about making predictions and concepts of print, such as: the front and a back of a book, reading from left to right, letters on a page make-up words that have meaning and pictures can also help children understand what they’re reading. The next event will be in April to encourage families to help their child at home with identifying alphabet letters and learning sounds.

“I am a member of the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team at Fletcher School and have attended several district trainings,” said Mrs. Moran. “We want families to be seen as partners in their child’s education. These events allow families to come to our classroom to see exactly how we are teaching their child and the vocabulary we are using. They have the opportunity to see firsthand what we do, learn strategies for how they can support their child’s learning at home, and are given materials to make this possible.”

Fletcher School also has a schoolwide reading initiative (3-year-old UPK to fourth grade) to increase reading scores and encourage a love of reading both in and out of school. Families are encouraged to be actively involved with reading with their child at home and help return the reading logs to school.