It was a pleasure last week to see so many parents at Curriculum Night. I had the opportunity to speak with a few of you afterwards, and I loved finding out which aspects of Language Arts you are curious about.
For those of you who I did not get to meet, I am Tara Lee Ronzetti, the SSIS elementary Literacy Coach. I support teachers in their instruction of literacy and support parents to understand the approach we take to it. I have been an educator for 13 years—as a classroom teacher, Reading Specialist, and a Literacy Coach. Originally I am from the Washington, DC area, and I came to SSIS in 2012 with my husband and two children.
At this point in life, I cannot imagine what it is like to be a parent and not have the inside knowledge of also being an educator. I can only get that from you, sharing with me what you know and what you want to learn more about. It is important that you see me as a resource alongside your child’s teacher. I can answer your questions about how SSIS teaches literacy. Every question is important to me– none are too small.
At Curriculum Night, I started to explain our big picture approach to literacy. In teacher words it’s called “Gradual Release of Responsibility.” In parent terms it is similar to what we do every day when teaching our children something new: I do while you watch; we do it together; you do it while I watch; now you do it by yourself. Much of the research on teaching children language (speaking, listening, reading and writing) started with people observing mothers’ interactions with their babies. Researchers learned from the mothers what works best. I say this so that you know that the foundations of what we are doing is more familiar to you than you may think.
Many of us started teaching our kids to read well before they reached a teacher. My husband and I have dozens of pictures of reading to our infant babies. We have video of us talking to our babies and having them “talk” back. It may have been a gurgle or a goo-goo, but we treated the response as the baby participating in the conversation. Those moments are the beginning of literacy, and they started with you.
At SSIS we continue to foster your child’s literacy journey by this Gradual Release of Responsibility: modeling (I do while you watch); guided practice (we do it together); conferring (you do it while I watch); and independent practice (now you do it by yourself). I hope over the year that these education terms will become more familiar to you.
This year we will have several Parent Coffees where different parts of the curriculum will be highlighted. I will be sharing with you more about how literacy works at our school. I look forward to it. In the meantime, if you have questions, just ask!
Tara Lee Ronzetti