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Dear Parents

,
Hello! My name is Miss. Dana Farrell, and I have the privilege of
getting to teach your child this year as their grade 3 teacher! I look
very forward to meeting you all and getting to know you at our parent
orientation night next week, September 15th. I have a feeling that we
are going to have an excellent year ahead of us!
I am writing this letter to YOU, parents, as an introductory letter
into our literacy program, which is greatly emphasized and valued at
our school for all grade levels considering the integral role that literacy
plays in all aspects of our lives.
Our school places a large value on literacy as it is through
reading that students truly learn. Furthermore, our school treasures
literacy because it is though reading that students can explore and tap
into their own creativity, by reading stories that sparks their curiosity
and imagination, helping them to become critical thinkers at every
age. Plus, the skills that are practiced and rehearsed through reading
and writing are those that are used and applied cross-curricularly, in
science, math, social studies…you name it! For, when it comes to
literacy, the benefits are endless, the possibilities are endless, and the
potential is endless. Students can continue to grow and develop these
skills later on in life, and never reach a limit of boredom, possibility or
benefit. However, without the right environments, practice, resources
and support, students often lose interest in reading, which results in
them becoming poorer writers, seeing as how the two are intrinsically
related.
So, it is up to you, parents, to play a supportive and active role in
your child’s reading so that they may feel confident, passionate, and
curious to pursue reading, which will benefit their childhood
experiences and education. For, simply reading at school is only half of
it, but when students read at home, they feel much more engaged and
confident in their reading, especially when their families participate in
the home reading. For, by the end of the year, it is my goal to instill a
desire for students to pursue their own books, based on their own
preferences, without having it as part of a homework routine. In doing
so, students will have established grounds for further growth as
readers that will continue on for the rest of their lives.
A little bit about our program…

At school, we use a leveled reading system that is catered to the
uniquely fit each student, according to the 5 essential components of
learning to read:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Comprehension
Fluency
Success strategies
Vocabulary
Phonics/Phonemes

I use this approach to reading because it allows students to not
feel pressured, or restrained by limitations of specified destinations to
be reached at by the end of the year. Because, as we know, one size
does not fit all, and this is especially the same case with young
readers, because each student is coming from different backgrounds
and learning at their own pace.
So, while all students may be reading different stories at different levels
concurrently, they will all have the same goal in mind:
GOAL/PURPOSE OF READING: TO GROW FROM WHERE WE STARTED!
*Attached to this letter, you will find seeds stapled in an envelope, to remind
you of this goal. Not only is the plant growth cycle integral to our science
curriculum, but I believe it depicts the growth of a young reader as well…
Think of your students as a newly planted flower seed.
They require constant care and attention, (INVOLVEMENT/INTEREST), regular
watering (NIGHTLY HOME READING), and fertilization (GUIDE THEM, ASSIST
THEM, LISTEN TO THEM).

At school, we plant the seed, and grow the roots for the 5 components of
reading.
But, there is not enough time in a school day for the flower to fully blossom…

So, with regular reading, and supportive environments both at school and
home, students will be able to blossom like flowers, and grow as young
readers.

The second component to our reading program in grade 3 is the
“home reading program”, where I send students home with a different
(short) book, every night, so that they are always looking at new
content, authors, subject matter, and characters, to keep them fully
interested and engaged in reading every day. But, this program cannot
be possible without help from our wonderful parents. Parents facilitate
this program by showing an interest in their child’s reading, motivating
them, and bonding with them over some good books.
Parents can enhance the reading development of their child in many
different ways. Most obviously, parents can help children develop the
key areas of reading development by reading TO or, WITH their child,
but they can also benefit their child by letting the children read by
themselves, at home. By setting up a special reading place or space in
your home that is free from distraction, where they can be watched
and observed from a distance, to help keep them on task. If you notice
your child having trouble reading on their own, here are some simple
strategies to help them master fluency, pronunciation, and
comprehension:

Ask simple comprehension questions after the reading is done.
(Engage in discussion and review)
 Avoid jumping to help your child pronounce a word if they are
stuck – give them time to try and figure it out independently
 To improve fluency, encourage your child to re-read the sentence
from the beginning
 Encourage the child to first look at the pictures and headings of
pages before reading the content, to make assumptions about
what will be discussed in the text. (Comprehension strategy)
 Chunk words that are causing pronunciation difficulties.
(Example: Apple. A-PP-LE)
Most importantly, however, parents can help develop their child’s
reading skills by being as engaged and involved as possible, because
children will nurture the special relationship and bond that they will
share with you during this special time.
I can’t wait to get this home reading program started in October, once
students have become accustomed to our daily reading routines. Until
then, you can begin to get your students involved with reading at

home if you so choose! Here are some examples of major titles and
authors that we will be exploring over the year:
1. Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the
Giant Peach, The BFG)
2. Junie B. Jones - Series
3. E.B. White (Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web)
4. Beverly Clearly
5. Andrew Clements
6. Louis Sachar
I look very forward to seeing you all at our parent orientation next
week! Until then, if you have any further questions, feel free to e-mail
me at dana.farrell@uleth.ca

Happy reading!
Sincerely,

Ms. Farrell