Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center is in year 2 of the four-year Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant (CLSD) to serve students in grades K through 5 at Mansfield City Schools’ Springmill STEM Elementary and Plymouth-Shiloh Elementary School.
The CLSD Literacy Coaches, are working closely with the Ohio Department of Education, and State Support Team 7, to build these two model sites to become regional and state-wide models for evidence-based practices in literacy using proven practices that increase achievement for all students.
A critical component of the grants success is the involvement and partnering with families to work collaboratively with the schools to support literacy development at home.
Through participation in The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center, the CLSD Director/Family Engagement Coordinator, Lisa Cook, became aware that The Regional Education Laboratory Southeast (RELS) provides a series of videos for families of children in Kindergarten through Third grades, scaffolding parent and caregiver engagement in language and literacy development. The videos are free to share with families. They model literacy concepts using quality children’s literature and provide accompanying activities. CLSD funds were allocated to purchase quality literature to send home to families to accompany the family friendly videos and activities created by REL.
Why is this “Mission” so important? The National Center for Education Statistics found 61% low- income families have no books at all in their homes! There are inequalities between children who live in a language rich household and those who do not! (32 Million Word Gap.) The Family Engagement Literacy Bookbag program will allow the families to keep the books which will help to build their home libraries and to support their child’s literacy development. In addition, there are guided writing activities for the families to support their child’s writing development which strengthens reading skills.
Monthly, five hundred Family Engagement Literacy Book Bags are filled and sent home with the students containing a new book and activities. By the end of the school year, they will have nine books to read and share with their families. In addition, CLSD Coach Kelly Britton created a Google Site for parents to access the instructional videos as well as watch an informative introductory video produced by Lisa on the purpose of the Family Engagement “Mission” and to stress families key role in its success.
As the grant continues, it is the intent of the CLSD Coaches to collect feedback through surveys, host zoom meetings, attend School Family Engagement events, and integrate older students in the districts to help support filling the bags and reading the stories with the students.
CLSD Director and Family Engagement Coordinator Lisa Cook said, “We are overjoyed to have the opportunity to send quality literature and activities home with the students to support family engagement. We know research shows that parent involvement helps keep students on track, which results in better attendance, fewer missed assignments, improved test scores, and increased grade point averages. It’s much easier for parents to have this level of involvement when provided tools and resources to facilitate collaboration. We are grateful that we can utilize CLSD funds to support this exciting and impactful Family Engagement Mission!”