HAMMOND | In an effort to engage parents in their children's education, the Hammond Education Foundation is working with seven School City of Hammond elementary schools and the parents of young children to promote literacy.
The foundation applied for and received a $15,000 “Come and Read with Me” grant from the Legacy Foundation. The money is used to buy books and supplies.
Dollars from this grant are funding a series of three workshops at each of the seven elementary schools. During these workshops, Hammond elementary teachers will teach parents of kindergarten and first-grade students at-home strategies parents can implement to help their young children enhance reading skills, said Gail Rodovich, the foundation's executive director.
At the end of the program, children will take home 25 to 27 books to start their own library, she said.
Educators say one of the challenges in urban education is to engage parents in what and how their children learn. However, some parents feel inadequate to help their youngster. Through these workshops, parents learn valuable ways to enable their son or daughter to develop and master reading skills.
Each school workshop is a little different because teachers set the agendas. In addition to strategies, teachers also instruct parents on how to recognize and choose books that are at the appropriate level for their child. Sometimes children and parents work together during the workshops, and sometimes the children are separated and do literacy-related games and activities or have a book read to them. Nearly 400 parents expressed interest in the workshops.
The lead teachers at Harding are Carol McKechnie and Monica Seren. Seren said they hope the workshops get the students excited about reading. "We want to help them with comprehension and teach parents strategies to use at home," she said.
Harding first-grade teacher Vesna Konopasek said it's a good tie between home and school because the strategies that teachers are teaching parents are the very techniques teachers use in the classroom.
Parent Lee Phelps was helping his kindergarten daughter, Jenna, 6, on various activities. He said he and his wife take turns working with their daughter and attending the workshops.
Jenna said she enjoys reading. "I like to read about Barbie dolls and make up stories about them," she said.