June’s Great Start Parent Coalition Meeting – Literacy and the New Third Grade Reading Law

Our June coalition meeting was full of information for parents! Knowledge is power and we equipped our parents with great knowledge regarding the new 3rd grade reading law. We enjoyed a delicious dinner from Peppino’s Sports Grille & Pizzeria that included pizza, salad & breadsticks with cookies for dessert. After the children headed off to childcare the parents played “Who Wants to Win 100 Grand!” One of our parent liaisons, complete with a bow tie, lead the group of parents and caregivers in a trivia game with questions centered around reading, the new 3rd grade literacy law, and one bonus question related to the Golden State Warriors. Everyone had so much fun and the three winners that came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place received…you guessed it 100 Grand candy bars or other chocolate bars of their choice. It was an exciting game!

Our presenter was Jill Webber, from the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office. She did an excellent job of informing our parents about the new 3rd grade reading law. She encouraged our parents to educate themselves on their child’s school’s policy on retention and to advocate for their children. In addition, she stated that letters will be sent home in June/July following the child’s 3rd grade year informing parents of their child’s retention and parents will have 30 days to file a petition for exemption. This may cause a problem for some parents given the fact that once the letters are received in the summer, staff is usually not around at the schools for parents to contact if there are questions. As a result, it is very important that parents have a plan in place to determine how they will deal with the letter if one is received. You can learn more about the new 3rd grade reading law that goes into effect for the 2019/2020 school year at https://mea.org/learn-whats-in-the-new-third-grade-reading-law/.

She also provided a family read-at-home plan, eResources, supporting early literacy, and phonemic awareness and phonic activity sheets for parents along with creative ways to practice phonic. One creative example included dribbling a basketball to the syllables in words and then shooting the ball once the word has been sounded out!

Reading doesn’t have to be a chore and there are creative ways that parents can engage their children to become excited about reading. In addition, there are a number of reading incentive programs that parents can sign their children up for over the summer including Baker Book House (earn up to $25), Schuler Books (earn up to $15), Barnes and Noble (earn a free book), Texas Roadhouse (earn a free kid’s meal) along with many of the libraries that have summer reading programs. Lastly, the best way to encourage your children to read is for the parent to read as well. There are adult incentive reading programs too through Baker Book House and the Kent District Library. Children learn so much more by what WE DO more than what WE SAY…so we can mirror good reading habits for them to encourage a love of reading! Find the complete list of summer reading programs at https://grkids.com/summer-reading/.

At the end of our meeting every child in attendance received a free book to take home!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.