First graders start year reading

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2000

Staff Writer

First-graders at Troy Elementary School discovered "I can read" on the first day of school.

Since the first day of school often involves aprehension, teachers at TES do their best to get the new year started on a positive note.

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For several years, teachers have used The Messenger

to eliminate some of the fear of first grade by showing their new students they really can read.

This year more than 200 first graders were handed newspapers and given the assignment of finding the "I can read" boxes hidden among the ads and stories.

Barbara Flowers, one of the schools 10 first grade teachers, said the assignment "makes them feel good about themselves" because they realize they can read.

Friday morning, several of Flowers’ students excitedly pointed to the "I can read" boxes they found in the newspaper.

Alex Tillery was one of the first to grab a paper and discover "I can read." His classmates quickly followed suit

Flowers said this annual first-day-of-school project is "really a kick off for reading so everybody will be successful."

From the looks of things in Flowers’ classroom, the 2000-2001 school year is going to be just that.

"If you think you can do something, you can," is the philosophy adopted by the TES teachers and purpose of this first-day exercise.

In addition to the newspaper assignment, teachers created bulletin boards in their classrooms on which different items ­ the children were sure to recognize ­ were displayed.

"These are things we know they can already read," Flowers said of the bulletin board in her classroom that featured a French fries package, candy wrappers and other environmental print.

"By the time you go around, everyone finds something he or she can read," Flowers said of the bulletin board.

Many of the students are also likely to recognize more than just the "I can read" boxes in the newspaper.

Flowers said her students were going to cut out the "I can read" boxes from the newspaper and glue them to a piece of paper so they can take it home and show their parents they can read.

The "I can read" program is somewhat of a "safety net," Flowers said, and gets the school year off to a better start than handing out list of words on the first day of school and telling the students to learn them.