Pirates help Salisbury Academy students learn to read

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2013

SALISBURY — Salisbury Academy families received the treasure of knowledge recently during the school’s Pirate Reading Night event.
This annual family event for kindergarten through second-grade students provides a hands-on learning experience for both parents and students on how to read together. “Family Reading Night is one way to build positive relationships between educators and parents,” said Melissa Brown, Salisbury Academy reading specialist. “When schools strengthen parents’ knowledge of and interest in reading, students learn that their families think reading, writing, spelling, speaking and listening are important skills to master.”
The night began with a pirate supper catered by Blue Bay Seafood Restaurant and a jolly welcome from Pirate Captain Paul Brown. He kicked off the event by introducing some pirate words, followed by the students singing pirate songs before breaking off into literacy stations.
Parents and children rotated through teacher-guided stations, including literacy activities and tasks for each grade level that parents can implement at home. Teachers introduced ways for the parents to practice listening to their children read aloud, check for reading comprehension, play rhyming games at home, and encourage their children to write proper sentences.
Stations focused on vocabulary, reading aloud, writing stories, analyzing and comparing words to detect rhymes, and the school’s new phonics program. “The program’s main goal is to help students develop a solid foundation in phonics that will allow them to read fluently, increase listening and reading vocabularies, and understand what they read,” Brown said.
Third grade teacher Kim Petty provided parents a demonstration of the multisensory phonics approach used at Salisbury Academy. The lessons include visual, auditory and kinesthetic methods for teaching students individual sounds and blending those sounds to read words, phrases, sentences and stories. “This fits hand in hand with our experiential, multi-sensory approach to learning,” Petty said. Also known as Orton-Gillingham theory, this method combines multi-sensory techniques along with the structure of the English language. Petty has five years experience with using the Orton-Gillingham method. “This is a method to teach reading and spelling together and that allows us to teach to all the ways children process information,” she said.
“Salisbury Academy’s Family Reading Night was the perfect opportunity for us to become more connected to our son’s teachers and school environment,” said Kelly Goodman, whose son Sam is in kindergarten. “We are so impressed each day with the level of commitment that the Salisbury Academy faculty puts into each event and the Family Reading Night was no exception. It was filled with innovative techniques and creative ways to further develop my child’s reading. We love that Salisbury Academy creates events like this that encourage family time all while making learning fun and challenging.”