District 27 offers its students a rigorous and coherent curricular program for all students in all of the core subject areas. The District also provides a wide variety of services for children that may need additional help. Some of these students require support for learning disabilities while others have a language barrier because they are new to this country. Still, others are identified as intellectually gifted.
The support programs offered include Special Education Resources, Emergent Bilingual Program, and Extended Learning Programs. The District also offers a variety of other services to help our students be successful. These include Social Work and Psychology, Reading Specialists, Resource Specialists, and Speech Specialists.
The Resource Teacher helps provide various types of special instructional programs for students in consultation with the classroom teacher and other specialists. The programs offer learning assistance primarily in the areas of reading, language arts, and mathematics.
The Hickory Point Emergent Bilingual Program provides a learning environment that is interactive and visually supported to help students easily acquire English language skills in all four language domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
On the Emergent Bilingual links section, you will find links to educational websites where you can play listening and speaking games, read and write stories, or practice your math facts. These links are for students AND parents who are learning English as a new language.
The school social worker meets with students individually, in pairs, or with groups when academic performance is impacted by social/emotional needs. The social worker is also available to parents for consultation regarding their child. The social worker helps students to solve problems that may be affecting their school performance. Students may refer themselves to the social worker or may be referred by a teacher, the principal or their parents.
The school psychologist provides assessment to help determine learning strengths and needs of students. In addition, the school psychologist collaborates with staff and parents to problem-solve concerns. The psychologist also provides individual and group counseling for students.
The Reading Specialist, in consultation with the educational team, provides direct reading instruction to identified students.
Activities to do at home
Phonics is the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language.
- Using index cards, encourage your child to help you write the following letters or letter groups, one per card: at, an, ap, et, en, ell, it, in, ick, ot, op, ock, un, ut, ub, b, c, d, f, h, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w. Show your child one letter-pair card, such as the "at" card. Then have her use the single-letter cards to make words with "at." Invite her to choose a card, place it in front of the "at," then try to sound out the word.Help your child, as needed, by blending, or singing, the sounds together. If it is a real word, encourage your child to write the word on a sheet of paper. You can use the word lists you and your child create for reading practice.
- From a collection of items, play I spy with the phonic starting sound of the items. For example, gather objects or pictures of a cat, a ball and an apple. I would choose a letter, in this case “c” and say “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with “c”.” (phonic sound) and place the letter card in front of me. Your child would then pick up the letter card and place it next to the item that started with that sound. It would then be her turn to choose an item to spy. Again how many items you would play with would depend on the stage of the child.
- Writing is a great way to practice phonics skills. Have your child engage in writing activities whenever possible. Have them send letters and cards to friends and relatives. They can send emails and help create shopping lists.
- Building Words - Using magnetic letters, make a three letter word on the refrigerator (cat). Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Every day, change one letter to make a new word. Start by changing only the beginning letter (cat, bat, hat, sat, mat, rat, pat). Then change only the ending letter (pat, pal, pad, pan). Finally, change only the middle letter (pan, pen, pin, pun).
- Making Words - For this game, you will need magnetic letters and three bags. Put half of the consonants into the first bag. Put the vowels into the middle bag, and put the remaining consonants into the last bag. Have your child pull one letter from the first bag. That will be the first letter of their word. Then have him pull from the vowel bag for the second letter of the word and from the other consonant bag for the third letter of the word. Next, the child will read the word and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. Take turns, replacing the vowels as needed until there are no more consonants left.
- Hunting Words- Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound. As each object is found, help your child write the word on a list. For example, if the target sound is "m", the child might find and write mop, mat, Mom, money, and microwave.
Hints For Helping Your Child Decode Unknown Words:
1. High Frequency Words - If the word is a high frequency word (such as, is, of, or could), say the word and explain that it doesn't follow the rules. It just needs to be memorized.
2. First Sound - Have your child say the first sound in the word and make a guess based on the picture or surrounding words. Double-check the printed word to see if it matches the child's guess.
3. Sound and Blend - Have your child say each sound separately (sss aaa t). This is called "sounding it out", and then say the sounds together (sat). This is "blending".
4. Familiar Parts - When your child starts reading longer words, have him notice the parts of the word that he already knows. For example, in a word such as presenting, your child may already know the prefix (pre), the word (sent), and the word ending (ing).
With a solid vocabulary, a child understands and uses spoken and written words to communicate effectively. A broad vocabulary helps a child in all subject areas. The more words a child has been exposed to, the easier it is for him to figure them out when he sees them for the first time in print, and the easier it is for him to understand new concepts in class.
- Preview Words:
Choose 1-2 words from the book you are reading that may be interesting or unfamiliar to your child. Discuss the meaning of the word in the context in which it was used. Talk about variations of that word (e.g. direct, directions, director, redirect, misdirect) and how the meaning changes.
- Read aloud:
Continue to read aloud to your child even after he is able to read independently. Choose books above your child's level because they are likely to contain broader vocabulary. This way, you are actually teaching him new words and how they are used in context.
- Hot Potato:
Choose a word, your child has to think of another word that means the same thing (a synonym). Continue taking turns until someone is stumped (cold, freezing, chilly, etc). Variations: antonyms (big, small, giant, etc.), prefixes (preview, pretest, prepay, etc.), suffixes (careless, useless, helpless, etc.), categories (food, pets, movies, capitals, etc.).
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and effortlessly, using appropriate expression and phrasing.
Choose a poem, play, or passage that will be easy for your child to read. Read the passage aloud to your child. Then, read it together. Continue to practice the passage, focusing on phrasing and expression. The goal is to sound smooth and natural. For a variation, you can try using different voices (mouse, monster), or use different emotions (sad, angry).
Try recording your child’s voice on the first reading, and again after several practices. Listen to both recordings to hear the differences!
Comprehension is the reader’s ability to understand, engage with, and think about the text.
Activities to Support Comprehension
Before, During, and After Reading Questions:
Questions to ask your child to develop his/her comprehension skills
Whenever appropriate ask your child to provide evidence from the text to support their thinking.
Look at the cover: What do you predict will happen in this story?
Is this story fiction or nonfiction? How do you know?
Look at the pictures throughout the book; what are you thinking?
What do you know about (insert topic) from your own experience?
Ex: What do you know about going to a new school?
Stop at a certain point and talk about what has happened so far in the text, and what you are thinking.
After reading the beginning of the book, predict what will happen in the end of the story.
How has your prediction from the beginning of the story changed?
Be sure to have your child go back and reread if they are unclear of a part of the text.
Describe the characters in the book.
What is the setting of this story?
Compare the main characters to one another or to yourself.
Talk about the characters, the setting, the problem and solution.
Talk about the episodes leading up to the solution.
Is that how you would have solved the story? Why/why not?
Create a new ending for the story.
Summarize or retell what happened.
Why do you think the author wrote this story?
What message was the author trying to send with this book?
How would you change the story?
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
3 facts that you learned or discovered.
2 facts that you found interesting.
1 question that you still have about the topic.
Read, Cover, Remember, Retell
Read a page of text, cover the page with your hand, retell what you remember in your own words.
Ask your child: In your mind, what do the characters look like? What does the setting look like?