(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – Sandra Alcorn, a Read to Achieve teacher at Washington County Elementary School, and Anna Pickett, also an RTA teacher at North Washington Elementary School, have created a channel on YouTube entitled “Washington County Literacy at Home”, designed as a way to support parents in working with children at home. Alcorn has been a teacher at WCES for twenty years, and has taught kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grades, as well as reading recovery/reading intervention for nine years. Pickett has been at NWES for eleven years, first serving as a reading recovery/reading intervention teacher, then later teaching reading and writing for fourth and fifth grade students for the last seven years.
Alcorn and Pickett came up with the idea after returning from the National Reading Recovery Conference of North America, while brainstorming ways to share literacy ideas with parents. “We thought we could make [the videos] accessible to the [district] website for parents,” says Alcorn. “Then NWES curriculum coach, Chrystal Rowland had the idea to put the videos on a YouTube channel, then helped us create that,” said Pickett. Theresa Foutch, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader for the district, gave the two ideas for videos.
Alcorn and Pickett say the purpose of the videos is to highlight a different strategy each time for parents to work with children at home, because sometimes parents are unsure exactly what to work on or need ideas of what to do. “We hope to provide information with a model to help prepare entry into school and/or support early primary classroom instruction,” says Pickett. “With the busy schedules that most families face, sometimes it is difficult to physically come in and meet with a teacher for ideas or to attend all the parent nights at the school,” says Alcorn. “Therefore with the videos, parents can access ideas from their home at a time that works best for them.” Pickett adds, “In addition, sometimes parents get lots of ideas, but then forget them as time goes on. With the videos, parents can easily pull them back up and watch them again to review.”
“We know that literacy really starts at home, so we hope that parents will be more comfortable accessing the videos for ideas to help their children receive that gift of reading,” says Alcorn. “We have been very excited about creating the videos and reaching out to as many parents as possible.”
“I have great respect for the teachers in their willingness to think outside the box and find ways to provide parent-friendly resources for the families we serve,” says NWES Principal Amanda M. Mattingly. “Partnerships between school and home are so important. These videos are a great way to nourish those partnerships, while also meeting the demands of the busy lifestyles many face. Many times, parents will talk with me about not understanding the strategies being taught at school and not knowing how to transfer them into the work they do with their child at home. This is a great way to provide specific models of those strategies so that parents have more tools to use at home when helping their child grow as a reader.”
WCES Principal Dr. Jennifer Miller says she is very excited about the project. “I believe Ms. Alcorn and Ms. Pickett have found a way to share vitally important literacy strategies with our students’ parents, in a way where parents feel comfortable learning, have the model to refer to when needed, can watch on a schedule which suits their family life, and supports exactly what their child needs to improve their literacy skills,” she said. “Many parents of our young students feel comfortable watching and learning from videos, so this mode of sharing will be one they appreciate. The cooperation between both RTA teachers has increased the project’s effectiveness. The best part of the whole endeavor will be the academic gains of our students.”
To view the videos, visit the link to the channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi-6wPblmkLKKUNm5wvxJ5A