Blending Family Engagement: Parents and Software Scaffolding Together
“Say the words again. Listen to the sounds you’re using. Which one starts with the M sound?” Ms. Robinson and her son sit side-by-side, engaged in a literacy game on the iPad sitting between them.
“Man! Cup!” The five-year-old scholar selects the image of the man on the screen, and the game moves on.
Ms. Robinson is one of the parents participating in our Summer Family and Technology Engagement Program at Ingenuity Prep, a new charter school in southeast D.C. The seven-session training in basic literacy instruction gives parents, like her, an opportunity to apply what they learn when working with their children, using literacy apps on the iPad. This summer thirteen families graduated from our program and each family was given an iPad on long-term loan from the school. Students are able to access adaptable and extensive literacy instruction at home, and we’ve added supplemental science, math, and social studies apps for both the kindergarteners as well as their siblings.
While an iPad with solid educational apps provided to the parents of kindergarteners can help drive student achievement, the real value in this program comes from the training given to the families. Parents use the e-library in “One More Story” to help their children make connections in storybooks. They scaffold their child’s learning when the kindergartener makes a mistake in “Reading Eggs,” prompting him or her to repeat the words again. Some parents have even started playing rhyming games while waiting at the bus stop with their children because of their knowledge of phonemic awareness.
We all know that smart software can provide scaffolding for students’ learning. When parents and software work together the value increases exponentially.
We will host another round of training in the fall, and our graduated families are eager to help recruit new parents and mentor them through the classes. With their help and encouragement, I’m sure we’ll have many more parents eager to join.