November is Family Literacy Month

K-8 Early Dismissal (12:40) – Tuesday, November 18

(Lunch will be served)

Private School Applications

Each year, a small number of students apply to private school.  Most schools require a school report, school records and teacher recommendation(s).  At Lawrence, the guidance counselor completes the school report, not the principal.  This year, in an effort to manage this process more efficiently, we have developed a new records release cover sheet that we ask families to complete listing the schools to which they are applying.  To obtain this form, please email our school secretary Christine Kohlsaat.  You must allow at least two weeks for reports and recommendations to be completed.

November is Family Literacy Month

Recently, I observed a fourth grade being introduced to the Dewey Decimal system in the library.  As Ms. Moriarty engaged the students in thinking about how the library was organized, it was clear to me that our students are library users who were very familiar with the range of books available and how they were grouped. This background knowledge made the numbering system more accessible and easier to learn.

Last week, our school was honored to have noted children’s author Jack Gantos visit and speak to students in grades 3-8 (in 3 groups).  As he interacted with our students, he commented that Lawrence School was clearly a “bookish” school –with students who read and enjoy books.

November is designated Family Literacy Month in Massachusetts.  These two anecdotes exemplify the key role that families play in supporting their children to read and love books.   Helping children to become familiar with libraries and to gain exposure to a range of books is a shared responsibility of school and home.

Fostering Conversations About Books

Another key thing that families can do to promote reading is to engage in conversation with children about books. This fall, our literacy specialists (Jill Demsey, Terry Jewell, and Pam Tully) organized a meeting for parents of the students to whom they provide extra support. They provided the following questions as a way to foster conversations about books.  Note the word conversation. It should not feel like a quiz, but rather be a natural and enjoyable exchange.

Fiction (K-2)

  • What has happened so far in the story?
  • What is interesting to you so far? Why?
  • Who is your favorite character/part? Say more about that.
  • What does this book remind you of?
  • What is something you like or learned from this book?  Tell me more about that.

Nonfiction (K-2)

  • What is the book about?
  • What are the most important facts in the book?  Why are they important?
  • What does the author want us to think about the topic? Say more about that.
  • Are there parts of the book that help you understand the topic better, like pictures or maps?  Let’s look at one and talk about how it helps us.
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book?

Fiction (3-5)

  • What are the important events so far? Why are they important to the story?
  • Who are the main characters?  How would you describe them? What evidence helps you to know what these characters are like?
  • How does the author use interesting language or elements of surprise to keep you interested?
  • What is the message that the author is trying to give the reader?

Nonfiction (3-5)

  • What is the most important information presented in this book?  Why is it important to the topic?
  • What is the message the author is trying to give the reader? How do you know?
  • Show me any special features (photographs, diagrams) that you noticed.  How did they help you understand the book?
  • What are some interesting words the author uses? How do these words help you understand the topic?
  • What is your opinion about the author’s message?  Do you agree or disagree? Say more about that.

For more information on Family Literacy Month, go to:

Save the Date:  Lawrence Reads – Thursday, March 5.  This year’s titles will be announced in January.   Lawrence Reads is an annual evening event that invites children and families to read a book together and then discuss it with other families.

Read on, Lawrence!

Rick Rogers
rick_rogers@brookline.k12.ma.us

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