Estabrook School, as its mission, “inspires curiosity, fosters perseverance and instills a love of life long learning and academic achievement, while cultivating social-emotional development.” We know that stronger readers are stronger students overall, and that students who love learning are more likely to achieve at higher rates of success. At the same time, we work to nurture our students’ well being and reduce student and family stress.
Estabrook is committed to creating a culture of readers. Estabrook students are expected to read nightly at home from books and texts of their choosing. In addition to independent reading, students and families are encouraged to share texts, engage in read alouds and read to younger siblings. For our youngest students, “independent reading” might mean a child spending a few minutes alone with picture books, making up their own story if they are not yet decoding text independently.
Students will not be assigned written homework assignments. Teachers and students may discuss what students are reading at home when conferring during Reader’s Workshop. Teachers may also provide reading options, especially for emerging readers. If there is a special activity that connects with a particular unit of study, there may be occasional at-home projects or assignments. For example, students studying the moon may be asked to look at the moon every night this week to track the phases of the moon. Teachers may, in consultation with families, provide specific, targeted practice activities for those students who are below benchmarks and need extra practice with a specific skill.
There is vast, conclusive research that reports a direct correlation between the amount of time students spend reading and the stronger readers they are. Similarly, we know that stronger readers perform better overall, and are stronger learners across all disciplines.
Parents play a significant role in developing readers. In order to support students’ at home reading, parents should provide a comfortable, quiet space for reading. Students should be provided choice of what to read, and parents should encourage children to read a variety of texts (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and periodicals). Modeling reading for children is highly beneficial, as is creating time for everyone to read at the same time, when possible. Asking about what your child is reading and discussing what you are reading yourself further strengthens students’ identity and competence as readers.
While there is no time requirement, students are encouraged to read when they can and as much as they can. Our youngest students can be expected to read for approximately 15 minutes, while older students can be reading up to an hour or more at a time.
In addition, students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, spend time with friends and family, and pursue their own personal interests. We look to families to give children the unstructured time needed to explore their own interests, to develop their executive functioning skills and social skills interacting with friends and family. Shared reading, visiting museums, viewing documentaries or other shared pursuits are highly recommended. Students work hard during their time in school. Outside of the school day, children benefit from unstructured time, free play, time outdoors, time spent with family and friends, and time pursuing topics and subjects of interest to them.
One goal of homework for elementary school students has been to teach students responsibility. Parents can help students develop this skill by giving their children chores or other responsibilities at home.
Your child’s classroom teacher, librarian and literacy specialists are great resources when seeking assistance in identifying texts for your student.