What is Literacy Support Skills?
Literacy Support Skills is primarily a reading tutorial for students who need a “boost” with their reading comprehension and/or fluency. I see myself as a reading coach who is designated with the task of improving your child’s “toolbox” of reading strategies which will enhance their reading comprehension. I will also work with your child on some of his or her writing skills, including answering open-ended questions. Additionally, I will teach your child the best strategies of reading nonfiction texts, taking notes, and using textual support in their written responses to questions.
Why is my child in Literacy Support Skills?
Your child has been chosen to be in Literacy Support classes based on a combination of assessments, and their prior year's report card. If your child has been designated to be in a Literacy Support class, you will receive an email at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
What goes on in a Literacy Support Skills Class?
I get to see the students two days out of the six-day cycle. The children are pulled out of the "Excel" class and I spend 64 minutes with them per class period. My classes have ranged in size from two to six students. I also push-into my students' Language Arts classes.
Students in sixth-grade Literacy Support will take an assessment called MindPlay this year which will assess their fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary skills.Our class reinforces the skills that are in the curriculum for sixth-grade Language Arts. We do not read the same selections that are included in the core Language Arts classroom. Due to the smaller class size, instruction can be more individualized, and the class pace is based on the students' needs.I try to make my class as interesting as possible, teaching the students "Best Practices" reading strategies. We work with nonfiction and fiction texts, and writing tasks are often in response to texts we have read in class. Topics that have been included in previous years include World War II, Hurricane Katrina, Frankenstein, as well as historical and science fiction stories. Students learn how to use text features, text structures, and literary elements such as characterization, theme, figurative language, setting, plot, point of view, mood, and tone. We discuss the author's craft and dig deep into the texts.
Are students responsible for homework and do they get graded?
Students will NOT get homework in my class, with the possible exception of asking her/him to practice reading a few paragraphs for oral reading fluency. Everything the student needs for the class is already in my classroom, although the students are expected to bring their Chromebooks and an independent reading book. The students do NOT get a grade in my class, although parents will receive “report cards” from me indicating what we are doing in class, what strategies and skills we are working on, whether I’ve seen improvement of your child’s reading ability, and what your child needs to do now to have greater success. Report cards are on Genesis all three trimesters. They are called "Progress Reports." I try to make the class as “stress-free” as possible.
Will the student stay in Literacy Support Skills the entire school year?
While the answer is not necessarily, it is certainly likely that the student will stay in Support Skills for the 2019-2020 school year. There have been instances where a student is doing well in both my class and his/her LAL class. If the LAL teacher and I agree that the student is succeeding in his or her classes, I will contact Mr. DeMarco. (This can occur later in the school year, as well.) If the student is exited from the program, he or she is put on a “watch list” and monitored for the rest of the school year to make sure the student is continuing his or her success. A parent may decide independently to withdraw a child from Support Skills, but they must talk with Mr. DeMarco in order for the child to be exited. My goals, of course, include improving the student's repertoire of reading strategies, his or her reading stamina, and love of reading. My goal is also for the student to exit the program because he or she can successfully use more polished reading strategies.
You should be aware that the vast majority of my students enjoy my class, even if they are not enthusiastic readers. Due to the smaller class size and the relaxed atmosphere, students feel more at ease to participate. The reading materials are geared to be at the students’ reading levels, which invites success. I model a great many strategies and support the students so they believe that they can become better readers.
How do I get in touch with Ms. Lurie?
Probably the fastest way you can get in touch with me is through my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I always try to get back in touch with parents within 24 hours. Please make sure you state your phone number clearly when you call. Please feel free to contact me any time you have a concern.
Please note that at conference time in December, you can make an individual conference to see me. Usually, I try very hard to attend your child’s team meeting with all of his or her teachers and you because it gives me additional information on how your child is doing in his or her core classes. However, it gives us more time to discuss concerns if you also see me one-on-one. I will still try to attend the team conference, as well.
Are there any resources that I could look at that will help me understand reading strategies?
I Read It, But I Don’t Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers by Cris Tovani (ISBN 1 57110 089X) is a book for teachers, but I think it is full of common sense and quite accessible for any reader. Cris Tovani is a reading specialist who, as a child, sounded fluent, but who didn’t comprehend texts into her adult years. She admits to having “faked” reading throughout her school career. Fortunately, I have run into few children in Flemington who “fake” reading, but the strategies Cris Tovani suggests are those that we use in Support Skills.