For the Love of Reading

A new school year means that we set goals and priorities to improve our school and learning outcomes for our students.  As a staff, we commit to these goals and identify how we will achieve them in a process that is documented in our 2019-20 School Improvement Plan.  A current draft of this plan is available on our school website.

One of our goals is to develop strong readers who love to read. Some of our strategies include instructional methods that teach specific skills. Others are intended to motivate students to choose reading as a useful and joyful activity. While we work to do what we can at school, we know that the connection between home and school is invaluable.

Year after year, research tells us that having a variety of reading materials available at home, promoting a positive attitude about reading and writing,  as well as spending time reading and discussing reading is associated with reading proficiency. Here are a few specific ways families can promote literacy at home:

  • Tell stories. We all love to hear stories about the people we care about. Talk about a funny, exciting, or other memorable event that happened when you were young. Encourage your child to tell stories. Make up stories together. Capture stories in homemade books, scrapbooks and journals. Spend time reading and re-reading these treasured texts.
  • Make reading special. Take your kids to the library, help them get their own library card, read with them, and buy them books and magazines as gifts. Have a favorite place for reading materials in your home or, even better, have them everywhere, including in the car.
  • Talk about reading. Tell your child about yourself as a reader. Share information that you learned from reading the newspaper or a magazine, paper or digitally. Discuss age-appropriate aspects of books or articles that you are reading. Start a family book club by reading the same book or establishing a regular time to read together. Share your enthusiasm for reading by discussing it over dinner, in the car or anytime you are together.
  • Participate in reading-related opportunities at school. Support nightly reading assignments with enthusiasm, attend events where our partner The Free Book Bus is set up offering a selection of free books for students and their families, visit the Red Hill school library and check out books for yourself or other family members, and shop at the Scholastic Book Fair.

Stay up to date with classroom and school-wide reading initiatives through classroom news, student planners, Tuesday Folder flyers and the Moosletter. If you need reading material or specific suggestions for your child or family, contact your child’s teacher.


Superintendent Substitutes at Red Hill

On October 23rd, our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Matthew Haas, served as a substitute for Tyler Croson, one of our 4th/5th grade teachers. This was a special treat for our students and school!

Every Friday throughout the school year, Dr. Haas, sends an email check-in to all 2,647 of our school division employees, as well as our school board and board of supervisors members. Dr. Haas uses these check-ins to keep us connected as a community of learners. In each check-in, he shares about his weekly visits to schools and his interactions with educators, support staff, and students.

One of Dr. Haas’s recent check-ins focused on his day at Red Hill Elementary School. I thought I would share the following excerpt with you:

I didn’t get out to a school on Monday because I was at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents fall conference; however, I had a great experience substitute teaching for fifth-grade teacher Tyler Croson on Wednesday at Red Hill Elementary School.

To my surprise, fifth graders are a lot like high school students, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day. I think that Tyler and her partner Veronica Brennan are very strong teachers, and the students fell into routines that are built around the four Cs: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. We had fun reading together, and I was impressed with students’ writing and story-telling skills. And when I forgot how to calculate the area of a triangle, students showed me how and explained why we use one-half the base. (It’s half of a rectangle, Mr. Matt!)

What a great compliment to our terrific staff and students!