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Look in My Backpack: Activities to promote home literacy

Look in My Backpack: Activities to promote home literacy

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Look in My Backpack: Activities to promote home literacy

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  1. Look in My Backpack:Activities to promote home literacy Heather Jones Susan Metcalfe Carrie Baines Lynette Hill

  2. Greeneville, TN • Located between University of TN and Bristol Motor Speedway • Home of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson • Population 15,198+/- (from 2000 Census)

  3. Greeneville City 2700 students served through our school system • 4 Elementary Schools • EastView • Hal Henard • Highland Year Round • Tusculum View • Greeneville Middle School • Greeneville High School • Greeneville has been the recipient of numerous national awards.

  4. Greeneville City Preschool • 100 children served through 5 classrooms • Funding: • Three are lottery funded classrooms • Two are pilot funded classrooms • Four classrooms are partnered with the Head start program. Our partnered classrooms serve as a state model for other partnerships.

  5. Greeneville City SchoolsGreeneville, TN • 5 preschool teachers • 1 Family Resource Specialist • 1 Preschool administrator

  6. Why do literacy backpacks? • Head Start started a take home literacy program 8 years ago with 5 backpacks • The children got excited about checking books out from school and taking them home • We expanded the program by purchasing journals for each child in the program • We purchased additional books and other materials through grant money

  7. Research • “Home or family literacy activities for young children will help to develop vocabulary, language, phonological awareness, and interest. They cultivate understandings of narrative structure, functions and concepts of print; and foster letter and word recognition as well as overall comprehension skills.”

  8. Research Cont. • “Parents inherently want their children to succeed. An increasing body of evidence points to a child’s early years as critical to future academic and lifelong success, a shift towards greater and more structured in-home teaching is taking hold within families of young children.” •

  9. EasTVIEW ELEMENTARY Lynette Hill

  10. Children‘s Notebooks • Each child has a 3 ring binder that goes home with them each night. The binder has 4 sections: • Responsibility sheet • Newsletters • Parent Communication • Literacy Journal This is used as a daily communication tool between home and school.

  11. Check-Out procedure • Each child has a check-out list in a 3-ring notebook • Place for name of book, date checked out, date returned, and a column to check if they wrote in the journal • Each child places his/her notebook and book buddy in a basket located near their cubbies. • I write in each child’s notebook and check in his/ her book during rest time. • Each child is allowed to check out another book, or book buddy, when they have returned a book.

  12. Why do I utilize literacy backpacks? • Research shows that reading aloud with young children improves reading skills. • Enhance parent/ child interactions • Instill a love of reading for pleasure

  13. How I developed Book Buddies • I began by looking through books I currently owned. I then developed an activity related to the book that would enhance skills taught at school. • I looked around at materials available to me, or materials that can be easily obtained. • Mailbox magazines have an extending the story section that I have used for several books (Today I Feel Silly and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf)

  14. Developing book buddies continued… • I typed an information page to include in the book buddy with the following information: • Name of book • List of activities with instructions • List of materials • CD of book (if available) If a book buddy is returned with materials missing, the family is asked to replace the materials before checking out a new book buddy.

  15. Froggy’s Frolics • We have a class mascot named Froggy. • Froggy is sent home with a child to spend a couple of nights. • The child journals about what Froggy does at his/ her house. • When Froggy is returned, we read Froggy’s story to the class. The child who had Froggy shares this with his/ her friends.

  16. Add pictures of Froggy • Add journal entries from Froggy.

  17. Highland Year- Round Elementary Susan Metcalfe

  18. Making Book Buddies • Find appropriate books from both classroom and personal library. • Use Mailbox, Carson-Dellosa teacher helpers, and other teacher materials to find appropriate activities for the Book Buddies. • Make Literacy/Home Connection explanation sheet and instruction sheet for activity. • Make each child a literacy notebook and give explanation of what is necessary for the journal on the first page. Possibly give an example. • Send home with child over the weekend. Expect it back on Monday.

  19. Mr. Frog Activities • Mr. Frog is our classroom stuffed pet. • Mr. Frog goes home with a child each weekend. We use this as an incentive for good behavior. We put a child’s name in a hat if they have not pulled a discipline frog and draw for the week’s winner. • Mr. Frog attends every function that the student attends throughout the weekend and the student records this in Mr. Frog’s journal. The student also illustrates a picture of Mr. Frog’s weekend activities. • Mr. Frog then returns to school on Monday morning with the student.

  20. How Often Do Book Buddies Go Home? • Book Buddies go home every Friday. At the present time we only send home a few every week because of the lack of Book Buddies at this point. • We check out through a Checkout Workbook. We check off when the Book Buddy is returned. • I chose the weekend to give parents/students more time to do the activities without weekday interruptions.

  21. What Are the Expectations for Literacy Journals? • Parent participation is the first and foremost expectation of the Journals. We do expect the parents to participate. The more time that the parents spend with the child doing exciting home activities and reading with them, the more importance the child will put on reading in the future. This will make them life-long readers and learners.

  22. Tusculum View Elementary Carrie Baines

  23. So how do I start??? • Have a collection of books that the children can check out. Small board books seem to be the most durable. • Have a check out system or someway to know who has what book. • Decide how you want to put your kits together. What materials, teacher made vs. store bought??

  24. Mrs. Carrie’s Literacy kits • Board books or hard back books are chosen for durability. • I used money given to every teacher at the beginning of the year to purchase my materials. • Instead of backpacks, I chose plastic folders. Many children bring their own backpack, and if they do not the folders are durable enough to make it without the backpack. • I record all my books on tape for parents who are illiterate or do not feel comfortable reading out loud to their child.

  25. Continued • I found several useful websites to gain ideas and clipart that follows the books I used. • Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Big Red Barn, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the Mitten, and If you give a mouse a cookie. • I usually chose 1 skill that I would like for the children to work on, and make it appropriate for that book. • Ex. Sequencing, counting one to one, letter recognition, recalling

  26. Continued • I also have a high Spanish speaking population in my classroom. I include Spanish literacy kits also. • My title page, instructions, and the books are in Spanish. The reading on tape is in English, so that the child can hear the story in English also.

  27. Feedback • I check backpacks and journals every Thursday.  I sit and call each child individually to discuss their journal entry with them.  If they did not write in their journal I send home a note asking the parent to please read with the child and help them journal.  I try to include in my newsletters the importance of these parent/child reading times.  If I still do not get good feedback from some of the parents, I will discuss it at a parent/teacher conference.

  28. Ella the Elephant • Once a week a child is able to take Ella home with them to their home for the evening. The parent, with the child, are to document the evening in Ella’s journal. • Ella is to be brought back the next day with the journal. • I then read the journal entry with the child and discuss the fun that they had with Ella that weekend. • I have had great parent feedback from this activity.

  29. Hal HenardElementary Heather Jones

  30. Take Home Library • Children choose and check out board books through the week and draw a picture about the story and their parents write what they say. • My assistant manages the take home library • Every child has a journal that stays in their backpack. This journal is also used for the literacy packs

  31. Lucy the Ladybug • She goes home with a child nightly (except on weekends) • She has her own journal with instructions • They journal about what Lucy has done at their house for that night. • When she has been home with each child, she will re-visit each child’s home.

  32. Literacy packs • I made 20 literacy packs • I went through the books, puppets, stuffed animals, manipulatives, etc. in my classroom • I put a book with some type of prop and wrote instructions for that pack and placed in a gallon zip-lock bag. • The children check them out on Friday and return them on Monday. • The packs are numbered 1-20 so each child has an opportunity to take each pack home. • If any materials are missing, the child cannot check another pack out until the materials are replaced.

  33. Questions??? • If you would like the clipart for Polar Bear or Brown Bear, I can send those to you as an attachment in an email. My email is

  34. On-line Resources • • • • • • under section fun ideas and activities) •