2018-03-08 / Living

Goodrich literacy program bears fruit

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com


From left, Reid Elementary Principal Beth Millerschin and Literacy Specialist Julie Semrau discuss their successful literacy program which ended in February, and show off Ellie’s story of how the program helped her. 
Photos by Paula K. Schmidt From left, Reid Elementary Principal Beth Millerschin and Literacy Specialist Julie Semrau discuss their successful literacy program which ended in February, and show off Ellie’s story of how the program helped her. Photos by Paula K. Schmidt GOODRICH — The last several months teachers and staff in the district have been meeting with parents and students in response to new legislation which holds back kids who haven’t reached reading fluency by the third grade.

Reid Elementary Principal Beth Millerschin and Literacy Specialist Julie Semrau gave a presentation to the board of education recently on their literacy series—several consecutive monthly meetings held since last November which gave parents and caregivers tools to use to help young students gain literacy skills.

According to Millerschin they picked a packaged program which participants signed up for and then met with them once a month. The parents watched a video on literacy focus which includes print concepts, writing, sounds awareness, comprehension, and oral language. Then the children join in and go through activity stations to reinforce the lessons and took home practice activities.


Tina Leese and her granddaughter Ellie Tester show off a special project the 5-yearold completed which says: “Dear Grandma, I love you to the moon and back” that Tina had framed for display at home. Tina Leese and her granddaughter Ellie Tester show off a special project the 5-yearold completed which says: “Dear Grandma, I love you to the moon and back” that Tina had framed for display at home. Staff came and helped them through activities and ELGA Credit Union helped out by providing bags to hold their kids’ activity supplies. The program demonstrated to families simple things to do around house or in everyday life which connect to literacy skills and don’t take much extra time or money.

For instance, they explained if in the kitchen, literacy could be taught using recipes, or at bath time with sponge letters or washable paint to make letters. As one of their successes, 5-year-old Kindergartener Ellie Tester and her grandmother Tina Leese were introduced and the board was shown examples of Ellie’s academic success via the program.

Writing the names of all her family members helped Tester learn her letters, and that turned into being able to write them letters and a special valentine she made for Tina which says. “Dear Grandma, I love you to the moon and back” that Leese had framed for display at home.

Also involved in the Leader in Me program, Tester combined the two and kept her activities in her leadership binder and went from knowing ten letters and no sounds to knowing all of her letter and all of her sounds.

Leese explained how the program helped Tester start to recognize letters and numbers in her everyday environment and driving down the road to and from school and other places. Semrau said everyone who attended the program benefited in the same way.

Millerschin said the program has boosted Tester’s confidence as well as that of the other participants. They also held a survey of those who attended and 100 percent of the respondees said they would take the program again and also recommend it to others.

Those surveyed also said they would use the information from the series at home and felt empowered to help teach literacy to their kids. The caregivers also said they appreciated how easy the materials were and that it didn't involve electronics.

Superintendent Ryan Relken said the program appeared to be right along the lines of district goals which focus on kids owning their learning versus just being accountable. He added he felt the school making learning into relatable opportunities for the students was a key factor in the program’s success and something very valuable to very busy parents who feel they may not have a lot of time to be involved in their children’s education.

The program will be repeated and expanded next year. Residents who want more information can contact Reid Elementary at 810-591-3455.

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