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    Hi Wildcat Families and Caregivers,
     
    Principal Question of the Day: 
    How many pounds of food have Whittier families donated to the Ballard food bank so far?  Keep reading for the answer - first one to respond gets a free cup of coffee Friday during lunch pick up. 
     
    At Whittier, we believe reading is fundamental and an important.  It is our goal that all students will be reading at or above their placed grade level at the end of this year.
     
    Below are some tips you can use at home when reading with your child.  These are from, Ms. Trilby, Whittier's awesome reading specialist.
     
    Reading out loud is an essential building block to becoming a fluent reader. Sometimes kids will insist they would prefer to read “in their head,” but reading aloud is a necessary step in becoming a strong reader.
     
    • Your K-2nd/3rd grade child is still learning the alphabetic code or the sound-spelling patterns in English words. In the code, one sound can be represented by either a single letter or a combination of letters. For example, the single letter “a” represents the short /ă/ sound in the word apple, and the three-letter spelling “dge” represents the sound /j/ in the bridge. Single letters and spelling patterns can have more than one sound. For example, the spelling pattern (called a phonogram) “ow” has two sounds, as in cow and crow. You can see why learning to read is hard work!
     
    • If your child has trouble reading a word, start by helping them identify the sound of each letter or combination of letters. Find the vowel and ask what sound it makes. Are there any digraphs (ex: th, sh, ch)? Then help sound the word slowly but smoothly, connecting the sounds. Sound it again a little faster until you and your child are blending the sounds into the word.
     
    • It is okay to encourage finger tracking or using a bookmark to help a child follow the text. If you notice they are skipping lines or losing their place, these strategies can be helpful.
     
    • We do not want young readers guessing or substituting when they don’t know a word. Guessing at words may look and sound like reading, but it is not genuine word reading and is a habit we actively discourage! A child might read the first letter and guess at a word that sounds similar and makes sense in the context of the sentence or look at a picture for clues. Even if they guess correctly, the habit interferes with the developing skills essential to real reading. You can redirect them with, “Oops! Start at the beginning of the word and sound out the letters to the end of the word.” Accuracy is important!
     
    • If your child is stuck on a word, it might be they haven’t learned what they need to know to decode the word. Names can be especially tricky. It is absolutely okay to provide the correct word and continue reading.
     
    We hope all of our families find time to read to or with your child every day.