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Running head: HOME SCHOOL LITERACY NEWSLETTER 1

HOME SCHOOL LITERACY NEWSLETTER


CLD 314-041
Rachel Jacobs
Julia Forgie
December 9, 2016
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My newsletter was written for a Grade Two classroom, with children who are seven years

old. The classroom I envisioned was in an elementary school in Woodbridge, where a large

portion of the population is Italian. Majority speak English well, but there are a few that will

have English as a second language. The parents in this community are very involved in their

children’s education. They expect and anticipate good communication and want to help their

children succeed by working with them at home on a daily basis. I have therefore included

multiple examples of how the parents can be involved in helping their children learn literacy

skills on a daily basis by reading with them at home, making sure they complete their reading

log, reading and responding to the children’s’ weekly journal entry, and practicing their spelling

words. I have also closed the newsletter by emphasizing the importance of good parent-teacher

communication.

The process of writing a newsletter is important because it allows for an opportunity to

introduce the curriculum and outline expectations for all parties: the parents, the children, and the

teacher. I think it is important to write out a newsletter at the beginning of the year so that the

year gets off to a good start. You want the parents participating and helping their kids at home

from the very beginning of the year. Consistent emphasis on reading and writing at school and at

home helps enhance literacy skills. The parents want this as well and they want an idea of what

the whole year’s curriculum will look like. I chose to send my newsletter out one week after

school started. This way, I could write a bit about what was happening in the classroom so far

and introduce the language arts program. In reality, I would include more photos of the actual

classroom and pictures of some of the books we would be focusing on in class (such as Flat

Stanley).
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I structured my newsletter based on the components of the Ontario curriculum for Grades

one through 8 (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006). I tried to take the requirements for each

section and translate them into daily activities in the classroom, work at home, and bigger

projects and units. I tried to make it easy to understand and tangible in terms that parents could

relate to. I tried to emphasize the parental involvement components of the curriculum.

For oral communication, I made sure to address both listening and speaking (Ontario

Ministry of Education, 2006). I created the activity of Show and Tell for several purposes. For

the child doing the show and tell, they get to work on their speaking skills, as do the students

who get to ask questions that week. The class learns about taking turns when speaking and how

to listen attentively to their peers. It is also an inclusive activity and allows students to show their

culture by bringing in something from home.

For reading, I noted a variety of texts, skills needed to read and understand various texts,

and working towards becoming more independent readers (Ontario Ministry of Education,

2006). I described and gave examples of some of the different types of texts that would be used

during the year. These included both narrative and expository texts, which each serve a different

purpose and help refine different skills (Jalongo, 2014). I describe in the newsletter how the texts

that will be used are inclusive of the various cultures in the class, using an example of an Italian

folktale, since I know that Italian culture is representative of a lot of the students (Ontario

Ministry of Education, 2006). I also mention how the children are guided to understand what

they read. This a form of directed listening and thinking (Jalongo, 2014). Other features of the

reading program include blocks of time set aside for reading and reading budies (Jalongo,2014).

For writing, I included examples of writing assignments and a description of how

students will be able to create drafts of their work and then proofread and edit them (Ontario
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Ministry of Education, 2006). A key activity of the writing portion of the language arts program

is an experience journal (Jalongo, 2014) called TWAS. In the journal, children write to their

parents about their experience at school each week and the parents read and respond.

For media literacy, components described in the newsletter include learning about

different types of media and showing their understanding by creating their own advertisement

(Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006). This is also an opportunity for the students to practice

their writing.

At the end of the newsletter, I wanted to highlight a key component of the entire language

arts program, which is self-reflection (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006). Children in grade

two are able to reflect on what they are doing well and what is challenging for them. I also take

the opportunity at the end of the newsletter to highlight the inclusive nature of the classroom and

note that we will accommodate each individual child’s needs. One solution mentioned is a

graphic schedule (Jalongo, 2014). A graphic schedule will benefit many children for various

reasons, one of which will be for children for whom Italian is still their primary language.

Ending the newsletter with a reminder about communication and partnership between

parents and the teacher was something I decided to do to highlight how parents can help their

kids at home with the language arts program. Since this population has parents who are very

involved, they will appreciate the theme throughout the newsletter.


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References

Jalongo, M. R. (2013). Early childhood language arts (6thed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2006). The Ontario curriculum, grades 1-8: Language. Revised.
Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario.