Angela Danley, University of Central Missouri, email@example.com
Donna Palmer, Crest Ridge School, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family involvement is necessary when reaching the needs of the students in the classrooms. Effective home literacy opportunities improve outcomes connected to reading and listening comprehension, as well as vocabulary (Sénéchal & LeFevre, 2002). Providing activities promoting the school to home connection is an important supplement to literacy development.
In the fall 2018, Dr. Angela Danley received a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) focused on a take home literacy program which also included a Missouri children’s author as a visiting speaker. Dr. Danley selected Crest Ridge Elementary to benefit from the grant because of the partnership with the university. Crest Ridge Elementary hosts teacher candidates for practicum and student teaching experiences. The grant implementation provided the students in the elementary school an opportunity to check out children’s books from the school library. The books the students checked out were connected to Missouri children’s authors and illustrators. Additionally, each book had choice board activities to promote parent involvement.
To kick off the grant, Missouri author and illustrator, David L. Harrison was invited to Crest Ridge Elementary for a family night and a daytime visit. Mr. Harrison shared his books and how he develops ideas for a new children’s book. Providing experiences like this communicates to the students that they can become a writer of their own story. The goal is to “motivate children to want to read so they will practice reading independently and, thus, become fluent readers” (Cullinan & Bagert, para 13, n.d.).
With David L. Harrison’s visits to Crest Ridge Elementary, the students have shared their excitement of having an author visit with them and share his experiences. David chose a student to read from one of his books to the group of parents and students. She was very excited to do so. She read with confidence in front of everyone. Afterwards, the student was asked if she was nervous to read David’s book with him right beside her. She said, “I was a little nervous, but I knew he would help me with tricky words because he wrote the story.” The student also added, “I think I could become an author too, you know I write really good stories Mrs. Palmer.”
Additionally, David L. Harrison visited the school in the March 2019 for an assembly. During the assembly he shared his experiences about becoming an author. He was able to engage the students in sharing his love for writing and reading through the books he has written. Sharing the love of reading sends a powerful message by encouraging a positive attitude about books.
Donna Palmer, Title I Coordinator stated, “Most of our students at Crest Ridge have not had the privilege of being able to interact with an author and to hear how he starts with an idea to create and book and take it through to publication. Both events really lit a spark in the students that night to reach their full potential as possible future authors.” Promoting reading through author visits is a wonderful to connect to students and lets students see the potential to where reading take them in future.
Cullinan, B. & Bagert, B. (.n.d.). Reading with your child. Retrieved from: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/reading-your-child
Sénéchal, M., & LeFevre, J. A. (2002). Parental involvement in the development of children’s reading skill: A five-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 73(2), 445–460.