Local students earn scholarships
Published 6:23 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2006
By By KERRY WHIPPLE BEAN – Publisher
Every time Brewton Elementary School Principal Deborah Marriott entered a kindergarten room Tuesday, children ran to her with journals in hand, to give her a hug and show off their reading and writing skills.
Reading and writing is a heavy emphasis included in the kindergarten curriculum.
In fact, in every classroom, children can be seen working on their journals, or sitting in a semi-circle learning how to piece words together to make a sentence - also known as the slide method.
The purpose of the slide method is to get children to focus on the entire sentence, not just the individual words.
With kindergarten registration set for Thursday, Marriott said it's important for parents to sign up their children.
Last year, 74 students were enrolled in kindergarten at BES. While that is a good number, Marriott said there are always a few parents who think kindergarten is a waste of time.
Kindergarten is not mandatory by state law, Marriott said.
One reason for the hesitancy to change the law may be that parents think 5 or 6 is too early to enter school, Marriott said. But she disagrees.
“If they don't start early, it's really hard for them to get where they need to be,” she said. “Typically, if they don't start to write early they're afraid to write (later).
In each kindergarten class, students are required to write in a daily journal. The children are required to write at least four sentences including a topic sentence, two to three detail sentences and a conclusion.
But, teachers are seeing children go beyond the requirement.
In Lisa Peace's class, her students began with the basic requirement.
Then, student Tanner McDaniel began to set the bar higher. Peace said he began to write out one to two pages, and the students at his table began to exceed those pages and proceeded to count sentences.
Sarahann Devers used to write in big letters all over in her journal. Now, Peace said, she's writing smaller and filling up the pages.
“I'm turning over two pages and three pages,” Stokes Jennings said.
Reading and writing lessons might not make sense at first to adults, but kindergarten teachers say they are putting students on the right track for language success.
Each day, kindergarten teachers write a model paragraph on a board and the students model their journal writing after it. Students are also taught nonsense words and “instant” words.
Nonsense words are words that are not real, such as maf, dop, jiq. Instant words are sight words.
Peace said she has a whole drawer full of nonsense words to deter memorization.
Once the students get some of the sight words under their belts, reading and writing become easier for them.
In every room, kindergarten teachers are amazed at the rapid progress their students have made in a year.
All of the teachers receive training from a module called Step up to Writing. The Alabama Reading Institute technique was revamped several years ago to include the writing, and Marriott said it's really paid off.
Brewton Elementary School will be registering kindergarten students for the 2006-2007 school year on Thursday and Friday. Registration on Thursday, April 20, will be from 8:30 to 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Parents will have the opportunity to pre-register their children while they attend Ready, Set, Learn, a pre-kindergarten parent information workshop. At this time, parents will receive a bag of books and materials to use with their child at home.
During the parent meeting, a pre-kindergarten screening assessment will be given to the children, and they will participate in getting ready for kindergarten activities.
The sessions will be held at the kindergarten building located at 811 Belleville Ave. Please phone the school at 867-8410 to sign up for a specific meeting time.
In order to be registered for kindergarten, a child must be 5 years old on or before Sept 1, 2006.
The following documents will be needed: