During the "Coronavirus spring" of 2020, many parents/caregivers were asked to fill in for their children's teachers. They were understandably worried and anxious about school closings and quarantines, but thankful for the extra time with them. They attempted to create active, playful learning experiences that would interest their children, and meet their social, emotional, and developmental needs. "Retro" activities such as board games, bike riding, flying kites, and even fishing made a come-back. During free times when their children napped, or finally went to bed, parents/caregivers worked to complete their home and job-related responsibilities. They believed the situation was temporary, and strove to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Weeks later, when they were asked to assist their children to complete learning assignments sent via computer from the teacher, many expressed a need to know more about virtual learning, grade level standards, and appropriate instructional methods. Teaching their own children proved to be a daunting task, and what emerged was a newfound appreciation for the time, thought, and effort teachers put into their lessons every day. I personally observed this message written on one parent's car door, "My child is not a pleasure to have in class!" The transition to home schooling was a transformative experience for teachers, parents, and children.
Many parents/caregivers initially embraced their new responsibilities with eagerness, energy, and joy. They networked within their communities and parents' groups for ideas, and scoured the web for enrichment activities. Other families, however, had quite different experiences. Many school districts did not have enough tablets/Chromebooks to distribute to students. Those who were lucky enough to receive one, often had to share it with other family members. Since libraries were closed, families did not have access to computers, and in some cases Wi-Fi.
When and if schools begin face-to-face instruction, it is more than likely that parents/caregivers will continue to be involved in their children's education. Some might opt for virtual learning at home, or homeschooling. If schools adopt in-person, remote, or hybrid models of instruction, parents/caregivers will once again be asked to support learning at home.
As a result, parents are for the most part:
• Very concerned about learning loss due to the extended quarantine;
• Not trained, or particularly confident, using digital platforms and virtual learning modalities to build their child's knowledge base and motivation to learn;
• Unsure of ways to enact standards-based literacy lessons, and keep their children actively involved and interested;
• Anxious to know what their child is expected to know in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade.
This book is written for them! In each chapter, a variety of teacher-tested and child-approved activities are described for Prekindergarten to Grade One. To build upon parents' newly-gained confidence, we present literacy strategies, as well as high-interest books and websites geared towards early readers and writers. We include games/activities to support alphabetic and print awareness, ways to build a child's sight word vocabulary, and instructional web links that allow parents/caregivers to view video clips. All of the ideas are flexible and easily adjusted to meet the individual needs of each child. With the additional information provided in this book, parents/caregivers will be introduced to tips to promote and sustain their child's interest and confidence in reading and writing.