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Archives for March 2015

Read With Your Child

Read With Your Child and Help Them Do Better In School

By Anne Broderius, West Elementary Principal


This is the time of year when parents inquire about how they can best prepare their child for the start of Kindergarten.  The best advice I can give is to Read – Read – Read.  As a parent you can never read to a child too early in life (start when they are babies) or too often.  The early years are so critical to a lifelong love for reading and is truly the foundation of success in school and in life.  The main goal is to help your child become a happy and confident reader, so he or she will continue to learn and grow.  Parents and caregivers play an important role in helping a child on the road to be a successful reader.

Here are some parent-tested ideas on how to help your child be a successful reader and student.

  • Read Together Every Day: Make your time together with books fun and enjoyable. Let your child know how much you enjoy reading with them (even if they request the same book over and over again) and most importantly, make it the best part of your day together. Have fun with your voice while reading. Make the characters and the story come alive. It’s important for your child to see and touch the books. They might even want to look at books on their own. Reading to self is an important skill too.
  • Build Your Child’s Vocabulary: Talk about everything and give everything a name. If your child expresses interest in something, find a book to learn more about it. Some families even label thinks throughout the home to encourage reading, such as the door, window, clock, sink, etc. In addition, ask your child questions, and provide lots of language when talking about things around you. A strong vocabulary is one of the strongest predictors of later reading comprehension.
  • Sing and Rhyme With Your Child: Educators are discovering children are not hearing or familiar with some of the traditional nursery rhymes. Hearing and maybe even memorizing familiar nursery rhymes is not only a fun shared experience between parents and children, but it is an easy way to develop phonemic awareness (hearing of sounds) and helps to build the oral language skills necessary for school success in reading, writing, and speaking. Learning one or two rhymes each week during the summer before the start of Kindergarten will support your child’s ability to hear and play with sounds and words.
  • Model Reading and Writing: Make sure your child gets to see you reading for enjoyment or to learn something new. Children learn from watching the adults in their world. Make lists together for trips to the grocery store or have them help cut out coupons for some of their favorite items. When in the store, help them match the letters or pictures for the items.  Encourage your child to write and draw on their own. Provide a variety of kid friendly materials for them to use. Have them make their own lists and write thank you letters or journal events from their day.

Leading your child to love reading is one of the most important things a parent can do to help their child do well in school. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, please contact West Elementary.

Literacy Tutors

Would you love to help children grow their reading skills, succeed in school and get extra support? If your answer is yes, you can be trained to serve as a tutor with Minnesota Reading Corps at both West Elementary and Park Elementary.   Whether you want to explore an educational career, reenter the workforce, or give back to your community, you can succeed as a tutor. Last year, Minnesota Reading Corps provided direct services to over 30,000 children in more than 700 schools across the state.
As a Literacy Tutor, you’ll use strategies that help students believe in themselves and succeed.  Positions available include: Kindergarten Focus and Elementary (K-3) Literacy Tutors. Full-time tutors typically serve most of their hours during the regular school day.
In addition to extensive training, tutors will receive on-site support from specially trained school mentors.  Tutors come from many backgrounds and include recent high school and college grads, career changers, stay-at-home parents, and retirees.  Tutors may earn a living allowance, educational award, federal student loan forbearance, and other benefits, and have the chance to make a real difference in the life of a child.
To apply or learn more about the research based programs, position qualifications, and benefits, visit (do not apply via the district website). Questions? Contact or 866-859-2825.


Teamwork  = Accomplishment
By Dan Olberg, Park Elementary Principal

Imagine your favorite sporting team just won the game.  The scoreboard shows that they won by 2 points.  But, wait. What if the game was not over and there are still points to be awarded or taken away based on the behavior of each team’s members during the game?  Did they encourage their teammates?  Assist each other?  Give the opponent suggestions when they made a mistake?  What did their body language show about their character after losing or winning?  How about applauding a good play or nice effort from their opponent?  Would your favorite team still win the game?

Students are graduating from school to take jobs where they are placed in work teams.  Examples can be found in various job sectors.  In health care, many decisions are based on an interdisciplinary team that can include a physician, nurse, dietitian, social worker, therapist, and others.  In the business world, teamwork is important for improving the productivity and creativity of a company.  These team members learn from each other through competition and collaboration.   When constructing, builders will meet with an architect, electrician, plumber, cabinet maker, and others to be able to offer the best design and building ideas to their customers.  In education, teams of teachers work together to share ideas, analyze student data, and coordinate plans that allow more individual learning activities for students.  Collaboration through teams is occurring in all fields more than it ever has in the past.

Children need to learn the importance of being assertive in a team.  Some of the best indicators of assertiveness in school is the ability to ask questions in a group, offer feedback to other students without putdowns, and to ask for help from teachers or other students when needed.  This, along with the ability to listen and be open to other ideas, is an early indicator of how children will evolve as productive team members later in life.

I am happy to say that our Lego League team excels in their level of sportsmanship.  They lead by example.  During the State tournament, they took to the performance stage to assist another team with their robot, mid-competition.  Our student members offered tips and ideas for their opponent.  Needless to say, they received high marks for their sportsmanship.  As such, they were announced proud winners of the State Lego League Championship due to the team’s focus and tremendous character traits.

The vast majority of jobs require assembling a team to tackle a task in the most creative, cost efficient, and time effective manner.  Doing this requires team members that are accountable to each other, give each other positive feedback, and have the skills to communicate.

In our society we often focus on individual awards for individual accomplishments.  But when you really look at our nation’s significant accomplishments, from writing the Constitution to putting a man on the Moon, you will find that it took teamwork from individuals who trusted and learned from each other.  Sometimes we get caught up in the competitive nature of our lives and miss opportunities to model or teach the importance of working together.  As parents and educators we need to continue to expect, encourage, and model good teamwork as much or more than we focus on the score at the end of the game to encourage the character traits in our children that will allow them to prosper as they enter the work field.

Hutchinson Public Schools

Hutchinson Public Schools