Meet Pete the Cat!

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Students talk and sing with Pete the Cat as he shared a fun story about his day.

I am not sure there would have been such a crowded room if the invitation had read “Come learn the steps for the dialogic reading process.” But thanks to the teachers who maintain close working relationships with the children and their families, 84 percent of the 74 families were present to participate in a fun-filled evening with “Pete the Cat.”

This night in Louisville, Kentucky was a celebration of some of the work being done by the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) as a key partner. They are working together to improve kindergarten readiness through the use of 1) High impact family engagement; 2) Specific intergenerational literacy strategies in the home and community tied to classroom strategies.

The lunchroom was brimming with excitement as the children and families shared in a light evening meal at the McFerran Early Childhood Center. Something really special was about to happen and the children could hardly wait to go upstairs for a time of reading and sharing.

Mrs. Starr Logsdon modeled a dramatic reading of Pete the Cat including a guest guitarist to play as the children (and the grownups) sang along as Pete was rocking in his school shoes!

Each child knew the color of the station where he/she could take the family to play after the reading was finished.

As the parents followed, the children were tracing the outline of shoes, role playing the story they just heard, practicing sequence, and talking and singing with Pete the Cat as he shared a fun story about his day from the time he strolled to the bus until the school day ended. The children jumped with joy when they

Students traced the outline of shoes as inspired by the book Pete the Cat.

Students traced the outline of shoes as inspired by the book Pete the Cat.

received their own copy of the book to take home.  Parents received the PEER Sequence worksheet to help them make reading to their children more effective. In addition to PEER, CROWD questions were also asked (link below).

  • P-Prompt (ask a question)
  • E – Evaluate (think about what the child said)
  • E – Expand (add to the child’s response)
  • R – Repeat (ask the child to repeat)

This Family Learning Event at the McFerran Early Childhood Center represents an example of NCFL-trained JCPS teachers utilizing select literacy strategies to build parent capacity to engage in joint learning with their children based on NCFL’s model. The extension of classroom strategies in to the home and community is the crux of this concerted effort to improve kindergarten readiness in one urban school district in America.

This event was attended by Dr. Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Early Learning, and Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Education

Resource: Prompts for Dialogic Reading Process
CROWD poster & Sequence 2-sided

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Brenda Girton-Mitchell is Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education.