Subscribe
Children go over what they need to do to help them read and understand books with teacher Diane Garoutte at The Sullivan’s Elementary School at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday.

Children go over what they need to do to help them read and understand books with teacher Diane Garoutte at The Sullivan’s Elementary School at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

Children go over what they need to do to help them read and understand books with teacher Diane Garoutte at The Sullivan’s Elementary School at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday.

Children go over what they need to do to help them read and understand books with teacher Diane Garoutte at The Sullivan’s Elementary School at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

Noalani Timmerman, 3, gives a smile in approval of the story being read aloud to her.

Noalani Timmerman, 3, gives a smile in approval of the story being read aloud to her. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

Roselyn McMahon and son Ayden look through a book.

Roselyn McMahon and son Ayden look through a book. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Kim Williams’ 5-year-old son Jaden catches his mother reading, which is great, says the Department of Defense civilian.

Catching her in the act will help Jaden catch on to reading, Williams said. Mother and son also have become “Partners in Print” — a program at The Sullivans Elementary School centered on teaching parents strategies to use at home when they read with their children.

On Tuesday, Williams learned to ask Jaden questions while reading, like “Why do we read left to right? Why do we use capitals and punctuation? And what is the difference between letters and words?”

They also picked up time-sequencing skills by reading the comics and made a book of their own.

“I want Jaden to like reading, too — and he likes the program because it’s fun,” Williams said. “We didn’t have activities like this when I was learning to read.”

Partners in Print is a four-week class that meets Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It starts with a snack and social period to give parents time to get there and settle in, said Patti Fitts, the school’s literacy facilitator and one of the program’s coordinators.

“Then we do a short group introduction to the evening, and break up into three smaller groups, which rotate through three 20-minute activities. Teachers model each exercise, then give the parents a chance to practice with their children and ask questions.”

Partners in Print targets kindergarten and first-grade parents and readers. You can’t start reading with children early enough, said kindergarten teacher/co-coordinator Karen Moore.

“Studies have shown kids need 1,000 ‘lap hours’ of reading to be adequately prepared for school,” Moore told parents Tuesday. “That’s a lot of reading.”

And reading is not just for bedtime — parents can practice on labels at the supermarket and the signs they drive by, another teacher said.

Since starting the program last year, Partners in Print has gone two full rotations and is now in the middle of the third. Attendance varies — last week more than 50 families came to the session, the largest group so far, Fitts said.

The school plans to elongate the program next year by adding more strategy sessions, Fitts said. Currently there are three, plus a celebration session.

“We want to give parents as many strategies as they can use at home. One parent said to me just yesterday, that they’d never thought of trying that on their own,” Fitts said. “This just gives parents some ideas.”

Elizabeth Clope said she is putting the ideas to work and noticed a difference in her three children’s reading enthusiasm after one session.

“It helps a lot for the kids,” Clope said. “And I’m learning too. We’re all having fun — that’s why we’re back this week.”

For more information on Partners in Print, contact Fitts at DSN 243-4724.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up