Dear Families,
       We are looking forward to this new school year and working with our first graders. During your child’s first grade experience, we will encourage the development of your child’s self-direction and independence in the learning environment. First grade is a very important and formative year. Many necessary learning and work habits will be strengthened this year.
       In first grade, we hope the most rewarding event will be when your child learns to read!!!!! We will be working so that this experience will thrill each and every one of our first graders. We are anxious to use our reading program and explore all of the many materials with our students. It is important that your child have the necessary materials from the list sent home in June. We have attached an extra copy of that list for anyone that did not receive it. Please remember to label as many items as possible with your child’s name or initials. That will help with items that are misplaced, so they do not become lost. We do not encourage the children to loan or share their materials with others, that often leads to other problems. Therefore, the children need to have their own school supplies. Please remember it will be your responsibility to check on your child’s supplies every 2-3 weeks.
       We are anticipating that all of the children will have their homework and journal notebook by Monday. We’re looking forward to starting these two programs. The journal will consist of the children making daily entries into their composition book. At first, it will most likely be in picture form. Later on, it should take on written words. It is always interesting to see the growth the children have made from September to June in their writing skills. It also lets us see the special events that they kept track of during the year! This will probably be the one item that you will want to keep for them to look back at when they are adults!

       Our homework program is a way to reinforce the skills learned in school. In the past, it has proven itself to be a very effective tool. It gives you a chance to see the concepts and skills your child is working on AND gives you an active part in your child’s learning. This should help keep you aware of your child’s progress, and therefore there should be very few surprises at report card time. Please make sure to check your child’s work each night, providing any help he/she might need, and then sign the bottom of each page. At first, you will need to help your child remember to bring his/her homework book back to school each day. Once this becomes routine, the children should be able to do this on their own. Please remember too, all children learn at varying rates, for some of our homework will be a snap, others will need our help and guidance. The homework program will be sent home on weeknights only. On Mondays, we will send home our weekly spelling list for you to review and study with your child. (Spelling tests are on Fridays) The homework books will remain in school over weekends.

    Spelling and Skills Unit:
       The Orton-Gillingham program is a method of teaching reading and spelling that we use in conjunction with our Harcourt reading series. It is an excellent and very effective program that will help teach and reinforce rules and skills necessary for reading success.
    Our spelling program will start this coming Monday. We will give the children their word lists each Monday and we will go over them and use the words during our week’s work. Then on Friday we will test the class to see how well they have done. It would be a great help if you would find five or ten minutes each night to review the words with your child. Our spelling program should serve to strengthen your child’s beginning reading and phonics skills. We feel this program is an integral part of first grade and your child’s ability to learn to read and write. We do not plan for this to be time-consuming at home; five to ten minutes each night should be plenty!

    Book Orders:
       Once again this year, we will from time to time send home “book order” forms for you to look at. Some months we will select just one “club”, other months, we might send 2 or 3 depending on what they have to offer. Please look them over with your child and see if there might be any items you would like to purchase. We find these clubs give us an opportunity to purchase good children’s literature at in inexpensive price. You are under NO obligation to buy anything; we do this as a service to our students.
    Class Schedule:
       We have also attached our weekly class schedule. It will help you with when and on which days your child will have “special classes”. You may reach your child’s teacher by phone during the special class times. Keep this handy so that you will know on which days sneakers are a must! (We do recommend sneakers for everyday wear; it is much safer in the hallways and on the playground.)