Guest Post by PreK Tutor, Kathryn Spencer, serving at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, VA.
Each week I send my students home with a book in a little red bag. The activity is called Talk, Read and Write with Me, and the kids love
it! In their red bag, each student receives a book, a dry erase board and
marker, crayons, and a journal. They take their bags home and family members are instructed to read the book to the student 3-5 times in the week, ask questions, and listen to the students thoughts. After one week, the student returns the red bag to
switch out the book and the journal, which hopefully has a new entry.
Journaling enriches the reading experience as each child gets the opportunity
to draw or reflect on the story they heard.
I began this endeavor with just a
few of my students, and it was immediately successful. The kids were so excited
to have something to do when they got home, each bag with their own name
written on it. The bag belongs to them, and they love it. As a result of their
enthusiasm, the parents have effectively been given an opportunity to engage in
literacy related activities at home! Each time they bring their bags back to
school, I make a note if the journal has a new entry before sending them home
with a new book.
At first some of the parents were
hesitant, wondering if time would allow for an activity like this. Almost all
of my students have returned to school with their red bags, and that makes me
very happy. The parents seem to be excited too! I’ve even had some families
return the bag 2 times in the same week. A little while ago, one of my kiddos
walked into the classroom crying. He was devastated. “What’s the matter,
buddy?” I asked him. “I left my red bag at home,” he muttered. He was so
anxious to start another book. Of course I put a new book in his regular
backpack (which they all call their packpacks), and his mother thanked me. She
promised she would return the bag the next day.
Another student returned Sheep in a Jeep in his bag one day, and
inside I found his journal. He had drawn a picture of the jeep, and underneath
were the letters C-A-R. This was a truly wonderful sight. Talk, Read and Write with Me! is a great way to get my students
excited about reading and to bring literacy into their homes.