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Rockin’ some better student literacy

October 10, 2012
Andrew Westrope - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

LINCOLN - In the interest of improving students' literacy through parent involvement, Alcona Elementary School hosted a "Rock and Read" Title I event on Wednesday for preschool through sixth grade students and their parents.

DJ Ed Schmitz entertained students in the gym with about a half hour of music and musical reading games while Title I teachers Sue Elmer and Laura Matchett talked to their parents in the media center about reading strategies. Parents then rejoined their children in classrooms throughout the school for family reading sessions to employ said strategies.

Elmer and Matchett wanted the parents and students to start with separate activities so the event would be digestible to both of them and therefore invite both to attend, because statistics show a strong positive correlation between a student's academic achievements and his parents' involvement in them.

"We want to get the most parents involved that we can, because there is very strong research that supports the more involved parents are, the more successful their children are," Elmer said. "The overall goal is to increase parent participation in their child's learning and to encourage reading amongst families."

According to RSVPs, about 60 kids and 60 parents attended the event, and the school supplied books for each of them.

Preparing for "Rock and Read" on Tuesday, Elmer said the evening would begin on the parents' end with a quick introduction to the importance of involvement, followed by an overview of reading strategies to use at home before they broke off to read with their kids. Teachers Teri Yokom, Valorie Haneckow, Rene Holmes, and Dorene Schick also would be on hand to help.

"During the second half hour, parents will meet with their children, and we will have parts of the school open for them to go off somewhere and read for a half hour with their children using the strategies that we talked about, and then we'll have adults walking around available to answer questions for parents about reading," she said.

The event was the first of its kind for the school, though the school also sponsors monthly family nights with dinner and a seminar on specific topics like bullying, online resources, and other broader issues. Elmer focused literacy with "Rock and Read," and intends to follow it up with similar events in the future.

"We would like to continue to have events where we continue to build on the reading strategies component," she said.

Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5693.



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