InspiREading initiative helps parents/guardians teach children reading. 

May 4, 2021

InspiREading initiative helps parents/guardians teach children reading. 

West Shore School News is a presentation of West Shore Educational Service District in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP (Mason Co.) — The West Shore Educational Service District has recently launched an early literacy initiative aimed at helping provide young readers and their parents/guardians with some fun and engaging tools to help them become more proficient in reading. InspiREading focuses on providing resources that increase literacy engagement and proficiency outcomes for all. It includes strategy cards that highlight five literacy goals for parents, caregivers, community organizations, schools, and children to utilize to improve literacy.

“While we recognize that there are a multitude of literacy skills and knowledge required to become successful readers, we highlight specific strategies for motivation and engagement, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension,” said Betsy Dotson, ESD literacy coach. 

The initiative was rolled out in the school districts serviced by the ESD in March. Those districts include public schools in Mason, Lake, and Oceana counties. The program is aimed toward elementary students but is expanding to include children from birth to pre-kindergarten in the fall. 

“We launched the program right before spring break,” Dotson said. “Every child received a book of their choice.” The books contain a decal with a QR code that  allows the reader’s parents to scan which takes them to a website. The website contains several tools, including videos and strategy cards. For example, the kindergarten through first grade card provides advice on subjects like phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. 

“The videos are great tools that contain short clips that explain how a parent can support their child when reading with them,” Dotson said. “

Amy Taranko, ESD assistant superintendent of instruction services, said the initiative is meant to supplement and support the lessons the children are learning in their classrooms. 

“We know that parent and guardian involvement in a child’s education is vitally important,” Taranko said. “We also know that it can be a challenge. InspiREading is a way to help the parents and guardians out by providing them with tools and guidance.”

The early education team consisting of Dotson, literacy specialist Jaynie Manier, and Great Start Collaborative coordinator Sara Jeruzal, developed the initiative, along with assistance from local teachers and administrators. 

Jeruzal said the ESD is looking for community partners to help with the program. She said the Mason County District Library has already offered to help with the program but other area organizations and businesses are needed to help it grow. 

Events are planned for this summer that will help disperse materials and books. 

“The schools are very excited to have more resources to help parents to teach their children at home,” Manier said. “This is a great opportunity for them to discuss challenges a child may be having.” 

Manier added that the learning cards will also be provided in Spanish. 

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