Kindergarten Literacy Partners

The District 65 Kindergarten Literacy Partners Program, a component of the REACH initiative, is a tutoring program in which an adult volunteer provides interactive read alouds that helps kindergarten students learn about vocabulary and concepts, sentence structures, how stories work, and how print works. The goal of Kindergarten Literacy Partners is to provide kindergartners who perform below grade level extra time in school to engage with high quality texts, work with caring adults, and talk about their reading.

There are a set of skills and strategies that contribute to emergent reading success:

  1. Alphabet Knowledge
  2. Word Recognition
  3. Understanding How Print Works
  4. Anticipating “Book Language”
  5. Anticipating How Stories Work

In the classroom, teachers differentiate and support students in the areas of alphabet knowledge and word recognition. However, the last three contributors referenced above represent an area of challenge for many of our kindergartners. Book experiences vary widely among our kindergartners. There are children in D65 kindergarten classrooms who have heard 365+ bedtime stories…and some who have heard 0.

Read aloud is an important component in the classroom every day, but the knowledge and word gap that exists between these two groups of children is difficult to erase. Kindergarten Literacy Partners was designed by District 65 Reading Interventionists to specifically support this area of need as well as strengthen family and community outreach. With funding from Foundation 65, it was piloted successfully in three schools in 2016-2017. In 2017-18, two new schools have been added.

How it works

Two students work with one tutor for 15 minutes twice per week, rereading and interacting with poetry, songs, and rhymes. The lessons were created by reading specialists and kindergarten teachers for two purposes critical to emergent reading success: development of oral language (vocabulary and sentence structures) and awareness of conventions of print: letters, words, spacing, and punctuation.

Students hear…

  • new and interesting vocabulary
  • the rhythm and rhyme of an engaging story
  • academic language about books (author, illustrator, page, illustration, sentence, word, letter, punctuation)

Students are given opportunities to “talk and talk more”…

  • as they act out the story with puppets
  • as they chime in on the repetitive parts of the story
  • as they talk about the story with you
  • as they retell the story

Students will sing, talk, play, and connect as they increase both knowledge about how print works and joyful confidence as emergent readers.