News and notes from Principal Goetz

Principal Tammy Goetz

February 15, 2013

Dear Seward Families:

Did you know that regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer? (Kim, 2004)

I bring this to your attention as we get ready to plan for and invite students to summer school. Whether your student(s) attend summer school at Seward, enroll in other summer activities, or stay home, it is critical they continue to read.

We know some children don’t like to read, here are some ways you can engage them in reading at home starting today:

10 Non-Book Ways to Get Your Child Reading:

  1. Play board games. Scrabble or Boggle are specifically good for building vocabulary and spelling.
  2. Collect trading cards. There are card series to appeal to most interests: from sports to space travel, Yu-Gi-Oh! to Beanie Babies.
  3. Learn “how to.” Is there something your child would really like to do, such as perform magic tricks or add sequins to her jeans? Encourage her to find out how by reading about it.
  4. Get cooking. Invite your child to help you bake a cake or a special meal together. If necessary, simplify and rewrite a recipe’s instructions so he can read it to you.
  5. Make cards. Have your child make her own cards for holidays, birthdays, party invitations, and thank-you notes. Help her write a personal message to each recipient.
  6. Create signs and labels. Help your early reader build his vocabulary by creating stickers or signs for his room that identify toys or furniture: “bike,” “desk,” etc.
  7. Take a road trip. Write down travel directions and have your child serve as navigator when you drive. Give your co-pilot a map before you go, and ask her to mark the route according to the directions.
  8. Put on a play. You can perform the play for a special celebration or family party. Help your child find an appealing script or create one together based on a favorite movie. Remind your child that he must memorize his lines by reading them over and over.
  9. Write messages for your child. Even if you spend hours together in the same room, there are many reasons to write to your child. Drop a letter in her school bag or email her a joke she can forward to her friends. Post a list of chores on the refrigerator, and write family news or appointments on a wall calendar.
  10. Host a scavenger hunt. Make a list of items that your child and his friends need to find inside your house or around the neighborhood. Provide written clues that lead to the treasures.

Also, please remember that the IXL math program will be available to all Seward students over the summer. We hope and expect that students to use this program to stay on top of their math skills.


Tammy Goetz
Seward Principal