Parents Work to Strengthen Reading Comprehension

April 15, 2013

With the goal of strengthening the reading comprehension of students at Madison Elementary School by increasing understanding and awareness of reading comprehension skills and strategies, Angie Kolanko and Lynn Misirian were awarded a $3,261.00 Education Foundation of Wauwatosa (EFW) Grant. With the funds provided by the grant, they purchased classroom library books and created a take home collection of the same books with a resource guide for parents and students to check out. The take home materials allow parents to reinforce the reading comprehension skills and strategies that are taught in the classroom.

In addition to creating this new collection of books, parents were invited to an after-school kick-off event in early October 2012 where they received background knowledge and explicit modeling of the comprehension skills and strategies. The Madison Parent-Teacher Association helped to promote this academic focused event and provided treats in order to bring in parents who typically did not attend other PTA events. The parent library collection resides on a cart in the school’s main lobby so that parents can quickly access the materials.

As of January 2, 2013, 25 different families have used this resource. Some have used it on a regular basis since it was introduced. One parent commented, “Both my children (grades 1 and 3) read above their grade level and have large vocabularies, and they both read at home quite a bit every day, so it was a big surprise to me when they started having difficulties with their reading homework and schoolwork. Even though they can read a book easily and quickly, they seem to be having trouble analyzing text. Picking out the main idea, determining the author’s purpose, or making predictions all seem simple and obvious to me, but my kids really struggle. It’s been a great benefit to our family to have the Parent Library available for browsing after school. I love the 'cheat sheet' that comes with the book and gives suggestions for questions I can ask before, during, and after reading a book with them. Some questions I thought they would have been able to answer easily have turned out to be quite a challenge for them. It’s really given me insight into what my children are thinking while they’re reading, and given me insight into what my children are thinking while they’re reading, and given me ideas for how to follow up with their teachers.”

For more information on this and our other 15 grants, visit our website at

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