As regular readers know, one of my life passions is to help create an America literate in reading and math.
Those are the skills folks need to acquire the knowledge of life.
Today, I will tell you about a program that is a part of the Fairfield-Suisun School District’s campaign to make every child proficient in reading and math, a graduate and a success.
The summer program is called KinderReady. It is for 4- and 5-year-olds. The district and First 5 Solano have had the remarkable insight to build parent education into the program. They have recognized that in skills training, the role of the teacher is to plant the seeds of skills. The role of the parent is to lovingly nourish and develop those skills with practice. Doing something together also strengthens the parent-child bond.
The program is really a joint effort of the district and First 5 Solano. Learning Dynamics, which provides reading system materials, provided ongoing support.
With good teachers and parent support in a good environment, the Learning Dynamics system works. It creates readers.
At Anna Kyle Elementary School, KinderReady Principal Steve Phillips was kind enough to invite me to observe the program in operation. The children had learned their alphabet sounds and vowel sounds and were reinforcing their new knowledge in workbooks designed for that purpose. The children were loving it.
As I understand it, the class meets three hours a day, four days a week for four weeks. I observed near the end of the schedule and was impressed by the progress they were showing. At Anna Kyle, kids were responding to the affection and enthusiasm of a loving teacher.
A math element introduced the children to numbers up to 20. Parents provided “practice” by involving the children in day-to-day transactions with money, portions and the like. It was a good beginning.
In addition, there were enrichment activities provided by Kidz Art and Explorit Science.
Because many of the children spoke Spanish at home, a Spanish-speaking translator was an important part of the program. The district seemed to have everything covered well.
I was privileged to share the morning with Phillips. A special treat for me was meeting Roxane Jablonski-Liu, director of elementary education for the district.
Phillips had remarked to me earlier, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” I saw that in action as both Jablonski-Liu and Phillips joined kids at their tiny tables and helped them with the lessons. Yes, once a teacher, always a teacher.
The KinderReady program was abbreviated, but was long enough to have children blending sounds into words with some of them reading in the short vowel books. It was wonderful!
Anna Kyle is one of 10 district elementary schools in the KinderReady Program. From what I saw, the program has to be a success.
KinderReady is just part of the story.
A full-schedule program with the same elements is being presented to the children in transitional kindergarten and regular kindergarten. With this kind of focus, I believe that the Fairfield-Suisun School District will be the first district in Solano County to have all of its fourth-graders readers and competent in math.
I would like to see an America that is literate in my lifetime. It is a personal vision of mine. If I can help the district achieve its literacy objectives in any way, I will.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or [email protected]