Dr. Dan Good Superintendent/CEO 270 East State Street Columbus, Oh 43215 Ph. 614.365.5000 Fax 614.365.5689 firstname.lastname@example.org Mission: Each student is highly educated, prepared for leadership and service, and empowered for success as a citizen in a global community.
November 13, 2013 Dear CCS Families, Staff, and Friends: I’m guessing that if we were to think about how we spend time during our days, most of us would recall the projects we completed, meetings attended, where we drove, the phone calls that were made, and the people we talked to. However, have you ever stopped to think about how much time you spend throughout your day reading? I’m not talking about reading a book or report or a huge technical manual. Rather, the reading that we all must do just to accomplish the most basic of tasks. Reading is fundamental to function in today's society. There are countless adults who cannot read well enough to understand the instructions on a medicine bottle. Filling out a form or application to apply for a job, buy a car, or even to see a doctor becomes impossible without help. Reading is important because words – spoken and written – are the building blocks of life. Think about it; people, families, relationships, and even nations are built from words. Regardless of the subject area, reading is the foundation of every child’s academic success. A child who struggles in reading is likely struggling in science, social studies, writing – and even in math. If our children are having difficulty with reading at the elementary school level, how can we expect them to catch up in middle school and to be ready for college or a career following high school? That is why I’m so concerned about our students’ reading performance. In only 25 weeks, more than 4,200 CCS third graders will be taking the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA). This test will determine whether they have acquired the reading skills necessary to advance to the fourth grade next year. Based on data from last year’s state reading assessment, approximately 50% of our third graders (almost 2,000) could potentially be held back because of low reading performance. This is unacceptable, and it’s something that we must change. Now! In addition to implementing a research-based and highly-regarded reading and literacy program, students are working with and learning from a variety of fiction and nonfiction materials – learning how to explain what they are reading, both in writing and orally. As the day unfolds, students are engaged in small-group learning, focused at their specific reading level. Students also work independently, practicing reading foundational skills, such as phonics, comprehension, writing, and spelling. Beginning as early as Kindergarten, students write informational and explanatory pieces, opinion/argument pieces, and narratives. In each area of writing, students conduct research and use information they gather in their writing. As students move through the writing process they are now asked to use a computer to publish their writing. Students use word processing software, PowerPoint, Prezi, Wordle, KidPicks, and even blogs to improve their reading and writing skills! I know that your child’s success as a reader, as a student, and as a future graduate means everything to you. It means everything to me as well. Please know that we will do everything we can to ensure your child’s success at school. However, it is going to take all of us working together to make sure it happens. On the back of this letter are eight simple ideas you might use to help reinforce what your child is learning in school. I hope you and your child find it beneficial. I sincerely thank you for your support of Columbus City Schools, and I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday! Respectfully yours,
Dr. Dan Good, Superintendent/CEO
Eight Ways to Help Your Child to Become a Better Reader 1. Read yourself – Your actions really do speak louder than your words. When your children see you reading the newspaper or curling up with a book, they will want to follow your example. 2. Make sure your children read every day – Reading, just like when shooting baskets or playing the piano, is a skill. Like other skills, it gets better with practice. Researchers have found that children who spend at least 30 minutes a day reading for fun – whether they read books, newspapers, or magazines - develop the skills to be better readers at school. 3. Get in the library habit – Make sure everyone in your family has a library card. Schedule regular trips to the library. While you are there, check out a book yourself! 4. Read aloud to your children – Start reading to your children when they are very young. Set aside some time each day for reading aloud. Even 10 minutes a day can have a big impact. Bedtime is a natural reading aloud time. You will both enjoy the chance to do something together. 5. Make reading fun – Use a newspaper or magazine to create a reading scavenger hunt. Give your child a list of things to find in the publication. Find books that relate to your child’s interest. If your child is fascinated with construction equipment, sports, or even fashion, find books, magazines, and even online content that he/she will enjoy reading. 6. Give books as gifts – Then find a special place for your children to keep and grow their own library. 7. Reading pockets – Slip fun reading material into your pockets to bring home to your child; a story or comic strip, a greeting card, even a fortune cookie from lunch. Let your child know when there is something to share in your reading pocket.
The Columbus City School District does not discriminate based upon sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, familial status or military status with regard to admission, access, treatment or employment. This policy is applicable in all district programs and activities.