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EHS - Connect Monday for January 6, 2020
  • "Who Do You Tell?" Parent Session Jan. 23 @ 6:30 PM

  • EHS - Connect Monday January 13, 2020

  • Kindergarten Registration Begins Jan. 20, 2020

  • EHS - Connect Monday for January 6, 2020

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Principal's Message

Making the Most of Home Reading: Building Fluency with Young Readers!



"...it makes sense to have kids reading relatively easy text that allows them to practice their decoding in real reading situations when they are getting started. That may be decodable text, but I'd mix that up with less controlled books too; still easy but manageable (perhaps some words they can't decode yet, but with lots of repetition of these so they can master them anyway)...if decoding is an issue with a text, then fluency practice (oral reading of these difficult texts with feedback and repetition) can enable fluent reading." - Dr. Timothy Shanahan


This is the twelfth blog entry focused on Home Reading this school year, intended to help families successfully support children as they learn to read :)


As this series of blog posts all about home reading have unfolded, we have looked at many different ways to support young readers as they embark on the journey of learning to read with support from home reading that will complement the teaching and reading instruction students are receiving in school. When children first learn to read, there is no doubt most of this focus is on learning about letters and sounds, and how these letters and sounds come together to make words that represent real things or ideas. To those of us who are already readers, this sounds like relatively simple work but to small children just beginning to think about patterns and how to make sense of print, it is a daunting task and takes much practice. 

Initially, most of an early reader's effort and attention is focused on combinations of letters as they try to figure out what sounds are coming together to make a word. What those words mean in combination with each other is a whole other task - making meaning - that does not come as easily as both the children and the adults reading with them often wish it would! That's why beginning reading books are controlled with text that is very simple and highly repetitive, reinforcing for children the concept that the letters do their same job over and over again and sounds can (usually) be counted on to stay the same - at least with 'controlled text' books such as early readers interact with in the initial stages of learning to read.  It is through these repeated readings that children gain confidence in their abilities to see and make sense of letters, attach sounds to them and 'join' these sounds together to make words. Controlled text usually limits sentence length, often just three to seven words, so early reading students feel successful as they make sounds into coherent words that go together to state something.  And often - especially with very early readers - the task of making sense of those words is left to the end, requiring at least one re-read before they can really attach a meaning. 

This is the true beauty, I think, of early reading - repetition, repetition, repetition. Reading the same words and sentences over and over again, finding words that are similar, using different voices and intonations, making connections between words on a page in front of us and words we might have seen elsewhere. Finding these patterns, repeating the letter sets that make up words, blending sounds, playing games with words and text. And that is where Home Reading plays such an important role - it is great fun to read with your parent or grandparent and play games with words! 

As children repeat words and text with their parent during Home Reading - sometimes using different voices, sometimes taking turns with tough words - they learn the permanency of letters, text and sounds and how to manage repetitive text. These are skills they carry with them as text increases in complexity and they begin to search for similar structures to those they know already (like words that rhyme, or have similar blends at the beginning of a word, or at the end). Gradually the repetitiveness of the texts they have been working with expand and they realize they are able to decode and make sense of whole new words and sentences that are longer and more complicated. This is called fluency - being able to 'read' words and sentences with flow and intonation. And fluency brings the added bonus of text making greater sense, mostly because now the written word sounds just like the oral reading, conversations and 'heard' text they have already become so familiar with in their brief lifetimes.

As parents, we often are anxious to get the fluency piece going - we want our children to sound like they are becoming good readers! This is a grown up issue, not a child issue - they aren't aware of the importance of fluency in these early stages and taking the time to play with sounds, to repeat words in different voices, to point out consistencies in text, make up words, find rhyming words - these are all essential, daily practices with text that truly benefit early readers in myriad ways.  Fluency is not, in my opinion, something we can all count on to develop as readers - it grows from experiences with texts and then trying out those experiences on less familiar texts to see what 'it sounds like'. However, fluency is something we are all able to work on improving with a little guidance and support - and it is always so rewarding when the choppiest reader 'gets it' and reading suddenly sounds 'smooth'.  

One of my favourite activities with early readers is to ask them to record themselves reading each week, or every other week. At first, even kids who are in awe of their own ability to make sense of letters and sounds recognize they don't sound like adult readers when they read aloud. Yet, each time they record themselves, they can 'see and hear' they have improved just a little as we keep recording and celebrating their successes - and then one day, almost like magic, they are reading smoothly and are so excited by their own success!  

A few years ago, a Kindergarten teacher told me she was working with children in her class when she overheard one of her students reading a book to a classmate independently.  She was a bit surprised since the student had been doing her home reading but not showing much interest in reading at school at all. "When did you learn to read?" she asked the child in amazement. "I'm not sure," this beautiful child responded casually, "but I think it was yesterday!" And that is an excellent example of how practice and repetition at home may lead a child to successful, fluent reading in school. 

Practice and repeat. Easy instructions for learning many things - including becoming a fluent reader! Next week we will examine how improving reading fluency leads to enhanced comprehension of text - the ultimate goal of reading for all of us.

Lorraine Kinsman, Principal
Eric Harvie School ​

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RT @UsihChristopher: Proud of this significant work on assessment and reporting at the CBE. Parents/Guardians can expect greater clarity on K-9 reporting going forward. Thanks to #WeAreCBE teachers and system leaders for their commitment to student success! https://t.co/iHUk905cjj

CBE Night with the Hitmen is coming up on Friday, Jan. 31. Use the code FUEL and $5 from every CBE ticket sold helps students receive nutritious breakfasts through Fuel for School https://t.co/cdfCwXAKbn #WeAreCBE https://t.co/c8Ij6LJnVa

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Kindergarten registration starts on Monday, Jan 20. New age requirements for this year: Children can register to start kindergarten in the fall of 2020 if they turn 5 years old on or before Dec. 31, 2020 https://t.co/HucOTdtDMG #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/mw8nSFEJJN

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Eric Harvie School

357 Tuscany Drive NW Calgary, AB, T3L 3C9
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School Contacts

Principal
Ms Lorraine Kinsman
Assistant Principal
Mr Benjamin Strand
Education Director
Mrs Prem Randhawa
Trustee
Ms Trina Hurdman

School Information

Grades
K-04
Enrolment
433
Programs
Regular
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School Hours

Morning Start
8:20 AM
Dismissal
3:05 PM
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