Our Newsletter

We publish a monthly newsletter that is emailed to our parent community. We also post the newsletters here and archive previous issues. Our newsletters are published August through May of each school year.

September 2021

Dear BRE HERD,

Every year, parents approach me inquiring about how they can give their children an academic advantage in this ever-evolving environment.  Many parents hope for tips on a highly praised tutor, an effective online program that guarantees success, or additional materials their child can practice at home.  And while these resources can impact student learning, nothing has proven to be more beneficial than the simple act of reading.  The academic, social, and emotional benefits of reading are inspiring. They have been linked to improved memory, superior communication skills, higher levels of empathy, reduced stress, improved sleep, better conversation skills, and vocabulary expansion. 

If you and your family haven’t started a reading ritual at home, start now.  Set aside 20 minutes each day where everyone in your family stops what they are doing, turns off their devices, and picks up a book.  According to the International Reading Association, children that grow up in a home where reading is emphasized and instilled are far more likely to become lifelong readers.  Consider these facts.  A child who reads for 20 minutes a day will be exposed to 1,800,000 words per year, will have read for a total of 812 hours by the time they reach 4th grade and will place, on average, in the 90th percentile on standardized assessments.  On the flip side, a child that reads for 1 minute per day will only be exposed to 8,000 words per year, will have read for a total of 42 hours by the time they reach 4th grade, and will place in the 10th percentile on standardized assessments.

Please know that Dr. Thelen and I deeply understand the time restraints that come with being a parent.  Afterschool activities, homework, and the responsibilities of raising a child can quickly consume our evenings… so start small.  Finish each day by reading a book to your child, or have them read to you.  Research has shown that parents who read aloud to their children positively impact phonological awareness, comprehension, phonemic awareness, and relationships.  Children learn to love reading because it becomes a part of their everyday lives.  More importantly, it gives them one-on-one bonding time with their parents.  It is a win/win. 

My final advice, begin to build a library of books at home. Surrounding your children with high-interest books, popular literature series, and engaging picture books is an investment that is sure to pay off.  Children are far more likely to read a book if they find the content enjoyable, if they can connect with the characters in the story, or if the book continues in a series.  Make reading accessible, and set aside time as a family to read collectively.  Children model what they see at home, and if reading is a norm, they will be far more likely to view themselves as competent readers. 

As many of you have already noticed, Fall is in the air.  In the months to come, we will begin to see the weather cool, the air will become crisp, and the days become shorter.  If you must set down a book, I strongly encourage you to turn on your television and watch the Seattle Seahawks as they embark down the road towards another Super Bowl victory. It will be time well spent and will be far less painful than watching Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos fight towards mediocrity. Just kidding :)  Let’s be real, the Broncos are looking better than the Hawks at the moment and that’s without Jerry Jeudy! 

Warmly,

Jen and Rob 
Jen Rob September 2021 Newsletter