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 2020-2021 school year. Since last year was a disrupted school year, if I believe your child does not need support after the first few classes, I will recommend that they be dismissed from the program.
What goes on in a Literacy Support Skills Class?
I get to virtually see the students two days out of the six-day cycle on Zoom. The children are pulled out of the "Excel" class and I spend 45 minutes with them per class period. My classes this year will probably have between six to seven students. I also push-into almost all of 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. As we are working virtually this year, your student will need a pen or a pencil, a notebook, a whiteboard (if possible), and an Expo marker. 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 an 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. During these times, I am also an extra pair of eyes on your child to make sure that we are closely monitoring your child's social and emotional development.
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 2020-2021 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 Dr. 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 Dr. 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 the 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 at any time you have a concern.
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 only a few children in Flemington who “fake” reading, but the strategies Cris Tovani suggests are those that we use in Support Skills.