Neff ES student Leticia Hernandez is all smiles after reading her April pen pal letter from Westside HS student Annie Edick.
When Neff Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Stefani Patch first coordinated a pen pal exchange between her students and some of their older counterparts last school year, she had no idea that it would result in both parties improving their literacy skills.
But participating students at Westside High School were forced to bring their “A game” to the table once they saw the caliber of their younger correspondents’ letters.
“My students were blown away by the quality of writing from the younger students,” said Westside High School teacher Donna Patch (who is also Stefani’s mother). “It challenged them to be more creative and to focus on their own writing.”
Figuring out how to do something for the first time can be tricky, but having an expert on hand to show you the ropes can make it a lot easier. That’s why HISD has asked the principals of eight elementary schools with effective Guided Reading programs in place to offer tours to other campus leaders.
Guided Reading is a critical piece of the district’s Literacy By 3 initiative, which aims to have all elementary students reading at or above grade level by the end of grade 3. A big part of its successful implementation will depend upon the creation of both individual classroom libraries and a central storage area for Guided Reading materials that all teachers can use as a resource. Continue reading
Students at Neff Elementary got a special surprise on Tuesday. First Book donated more than 5,000 books for students to take home and start their personal library.
“If they don’t become better readers during the summer, they will start back at a negative situation because they will have lost the ability, the concentration, the confidence that they are good readers,” said Sheila Long Armstrong, greater Houston chair of First Book, which teams up with the Disney/ABC Television Group and its owned-and-operated Houston TV station, ABC-13 (KTRK), for the program.