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SSIS Engages Community in the Magic of Reading

Tanya Olander

During virtual school, “read-alouds” are one of the many ways that SSIS teachers have supported young readers at home. Two of our Elementary School teachers are now gathering this collection of amazing resources in a dedicated digital “read-aloud library“ called Dragons Read. And they’re on a mission to get the whole community involved! 

Teachers often create read-alouds using literacy-promoting read-aloud strategies to provide students with more language enrichment while learning from home. 

But whether it is your child’s teacher doing the reading online or you reading aloud to your child at home, the benefits of reading aloud to children are numerous. “Listening to others read aloud helps readers make strong connections to stories, cultures, content, and perspectives,” says Ceci Gomez-Galvez, ES EAL Coordinator and one of the initiators of the “Dragons Read” project alongside Evelyn Lucero, Literacy & Social Studies Coach. 

Getting the Community Involved

As a way for all Elementary School students to access the read-alouds created by our teachers, Ms. Gomez-Galvez and Ms. Lucero came up with the idea for Dragons Read. 

Cross-divisional collaborations and community involvement are part of the fabric of SSIS, so it is only natural that Ms. Gomez-Galvez has already reached out to see how others may want to contribute.

At the moment, our Dragons Read library is primarily populated with books read by our ES teachers, however, Ms. Gomez-Galvez hopes that other faculty, staff, and students, and in the future, perhaps even parents, will contribute to this growing resource. A resource that our community will be able to take advantage of long after students return to campus. 

Theater Students Contribute Their Skills 

Drama teacher Lisa Swiercinsky has already used Dragons Read as an opportunity for her Theater 1 students to apply their newly-acquired character voice skills. First up were students Tessa, Hoang, Davy, Sue, Triet, Kaleb, and Simba, who have increased the size of the Dragons Read collection by one book each!

Ms. Gomez-Galvez shares that another goal of the project is to include read-alouds in other languages to reflect the beauty and diversity of our community. We can’t wait!

So, elementary school parents, if you are looking for another great literacy resource for your child, make sure to ask their teacher for the link to Dragons Read!

And if you’re a parent who wishes to begin doing some more read-alouds at home, you’ll find some great tips below.

4 Tips for Read-Alouds at Home

There are numerous benefits to reading aloud to children of all ages. 

Read the book on your own before you read it to your children
Get to know the book. It will make it easier to read, and you’ll be prepared for questions that your child may have.

Example: "While I’m reading this book, I want you to think of two things. The first one is - what are some facts about this animal? The second is - what do you think about this animal? What is your opinion?"

Set the scene of the story
Share why you chose the book you chose and what will make it an exciting story. 

Example: “Today, you’re going to hear a story about a cat named SkippyJon Jones. I thought of this book this weekend when I was hanging up clothes! Can you guess why? Because SkippyJon Jones goes on an incredible journey - right inside of his closet!”

Get into character
Once you’re familiar with the book, you’ll be able to get into character using various voices, intonations, and expressions. If you feel a little silly - you know you’re doing it right!

Encourage predictions 
Pause and ask your child what they predict will happen next. 
Example: What do you think will happen when Kim opens the door?

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