Tag Archive | "reading"

Partners in Print Teaches Sag Harbor Parents How to be Good Teachers

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A mother guides her son through a new book at last year's Partners in Print program. Courtesy Sag Harbor Elementary School.

A mother guides her son through a new book at last year’s Partners in Print program. Courtesy Sag Harbor Elementary School.

By Tessa Raebeck 

Whether your reading consists of scientific journals or one-word road signs, it’s hard to remember when letters were simply abstract shapes in strings of confusing sentences. Through its Partners in Print program, the Sag Harbor Elementary School aims to help parents remember by teaching them how to guide their children through the learning process and effectively supplement what teachers are doing in the classroom.

Aimed for non-reading students in kindergarten and first grade and their parents, the program began in the elementary school 15 years ago. Today, Partners in Print “is kind of like a rite of passage for our kindergarten and first grade parents and kids,” said Sag Harbor Elementary School Assistant Principal Donna Denon.

“The purpose of the program is to acquaint parents with reading behaviors and ways they can support what the teachers are doing in school and what they can do at home when they’re reading with their children,” she added.

At tonight’s introduction for parents only, which starts at 7 p.m., teachers will show parents what it’s like to be a beginning reader, what strategies can be used to figure out print, what kind of books to select for which age levels and what they can expect over the four sessions, which begin next Thursday, October 23, and will run from 6 to 7:15 pm. Each week.

Each night’s session will explore a different topic, with children and parents rotating through three 15-minute sessions, visiting different teachers who lead separate but connected activities. After the short lessons on reading strategies, the students practice what they learned with their parents.

“It’s a really special time for parents and children to be together doing this kind of learning in a place where their kids spend their whole day,” said Ms. Denon.

For more information, call the Sag Harbor Elementary School at (631) 725-5301.

Reading, Writing… And the Onset of Nausea

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web_SEPTA Workshop 3-20-12_6986

By Claire Walla

Last week, the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) was blatantly trying to make me mad.

And it worked.

I was jealous of the “smarty pants,” frustrated by my own inabilities and I harbored animosity for my instructors who, arguably, were just trying to do their jobs. Learning was not fun. I wanted no part in it.

But, that was the point.

At this SEPTO event, titled “Take a Walk in Their Shoes” and presented by Lynn Burke of the International Dyslexia Association, I, along with 48 other teachers and parents from across the East End, were put through situations designed to make learning tough.

“These are contrived circumstances,” Burke initially informed the crowd. “But, they’re designed to let people experience what it’s like to be dyslexic.”

I sat at a table with half a dozen others, including two out-of-work, recently certified teachers and two mothers from Southampton.

Knowing full well that the exercises we would be put through would be difficult — only moments before we began, Burke told me that a Sag Harbor teacher had become nauseous earlier in the day when asked to perform these same tasks — I vowed to remain calm, cool and collected.

I may not pass with flying colors, I told myself, but I would at least be able to avoid the onset of nausea.

By the time the first exercise — called the “unfair hearing test” — began, I could see how one could succumb to illness.

Seated around a standard boom box in the far corner of the Pierson Library, surrounded by other groups of highly audible people who made no allocations for the fact that we were actually being expected to decipher sound, our task was theoretically very simple: listen to 10 words as they’re spoken, then write them down.

The list was repeated three times, the words spoken at various frequencies, and, naturally, the recording was fuzzy — which became the blame for my utter ineptitude.

The first word, we eventually learned, was “fill.” I had captured the sound in my head as “arrow” at first, and then as “bill.” The second word, “catch,” I had heard on all three occasions as “cat.”

It got worse.

“Juice” had sounded at first like “sleep” and then as “tooth.” And the word “shows” sounded different all three times I heard it: “say,” “toes” and then — it horrifies me to admit it — “seven.” (I have no idea.)

It was a pitiful show. But at least I could blame my struggle on the ambient noise. During the next few painstaking stations, it was just me: my eyes and my brain.

At one station, we were asked to read a short paragraph out loud; but, complicating matters, of course, the words had all been written backwards, and we didn’t have mirrors. (Most of us — struggling to progress from one word to the next — failed the brief reading comprehension test at the end of the story.)

The mirrors were saved for another station, where were forced to trace letters while looking at our papers through a mirror reflection.

At this point in the evening, I was thrilled by the fact that my relatively squiggly pencil marks didn’t venture outside the generously thick, black letters on the page. In fact, I was doing pretty well until I got to the very bottom of the lower-case ‘q,’ right where the tail flips up. For some reason my fingers were paralyzed, my pencil refusing to veer ever so slightly right. My hand simply wouldn’t do what I was internally screaming at it to do.

But, as frustrating as it was, the coded reading station was the worst.

The first page of our story packet contained a simple sentence written in plain, old, regular English. However, various words were followed by random assortments of symbols. These codes, we learned, were used throughout the rest of the story in place of the English words they were associated with. The frequency of the coded words grew as we progressed through the story. Once I figured that out, all effort to engage in the text completely vanished.

And then I was called upon to read.

Others in the group had already pled frustration and passed. I figured I’d give it a shot. Staring at the page, I stuttered, pausing for what felt like minutes at a time as I flipped through the pages of the text, looking for the words I needed to decode the words in the sentence.

“The….” I flipped to the first page. Not there. Where was the damn word?!

“Books,” one girl in our group chimed in. She did this a lot.

“Good job,” our instructor praised. She then turned back to me, “How does that make you feel?”

I wanted to punch the table. I had never wanted to punch a table. But I did then.

According to Burke often times dyslexia either goes unrecognized or isn’t properly addressed.

“We’re about 20 to 40 percent of the population,” Burke continued. And while she estimated 60 percent of those who have dyslexia are able to conjure up a language that allows them to translate what they see into something they can understand, Burke said the other 40 percent “struggle.”

“Forty percent of kids in fourth grade are reading below grade level,” she added. “And once it gets to that point, it doesn’t change.”

After the excruciating bout of exercises that night, I spoke with Erin Albanese, a special education teacher who is currently working as a substitute teacher while looking for full-time teaching work.

“The students are frustrated all the time,” she said. “They’re lost in space,” she continued, and when they don’t have answers and can’t do their work, “they run to the bathroom, or to the water fountain. They have trouble expressing themselves.”

Our group eventually learned that the “smarty pants” among us was actually a reading teacher who said she used the various tools she gives her students to decipher the foreign words we encountered at each station. She knew the word I was searching for was “books,” for example, because the image associated with that page of text contained books.

Burke concluded the evening by stressing the importance of recognizing dyslexia and other learning disabilities and addressing each situation appropriately. Understanding what students struggle with is key, she added, because there are tools out there to help students learn.

“It’s important that you learn as much as you can about dyslexia,” Burke stated. “And try to spread the word.”

Storytime is for the Dogs

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Reading to a Dog

By Claire Walla

After strolling through the Hampton Library with their father one Saturday afternoon, nine-year-old Sean Murphree and his sister Keara (six) stumbled upon something quite unexpected.
Standing there in the middle of the library’s children’s section were two pooches named Lucie and Miele, panting profusely as they waited for kids like Sean and Keara to come take notice.
The dogs were visiting as part of the library’s outreach initiative to help kids develop reading skills.
“The real idea behind it is to help kids relax when they read,” said children’s librarian Emily Herrick. “Basically, a dog is a non-judgmental listener.”
It took a minute to get the high energy lab mixes to relax, but Sean and Keara quickly chose their narratives and dove into their texts. Keara — an animal lover who said she normally reads to her cat — took breaks from her book, “Sally Goes to the Beach,” to address Miele directly, even petting the top of her head. Sean settled effortlessly into “A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever.” But eventually Keara read uninterrupted, and the dogs, like any good listeners, sat patiently absorbing every word.
“Reading out loud is a good skill to develop,” Herrick said. In addition to absorbing the fundamentals of speech, she added, “It’s another way of developing confidence, just like public speaking.”
Lucie and Miele (who belong to Herrick) were brought in when Maxx, a white cockapoo and certified therapy dog, never showed up. Thankfully, Herrick said only one kid who signed up to read with the dog was there, and her own dogs were readily available.
“Mine are strictly pinch-hitting today,” Herrick mused.
Librarians hope Maxx will be available for another reading session on August 13. Though Sean and Keara weren’t expecting canine companions, they seemed to be pleasantly surprised to find them ready to listen.
“Is it more fun to read to a dog than to mom or dad?” asked Jeff Murphree, the children’s father.
Both kids smiled, then answered in unison.

Calendar, December 16, 2010

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On Thursday, December 16 “A Celtic Christmas” performed by Cherish the Ladies. 8 p.m. John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. $23/$25. 324-0806.


SAT DEC 18 Inland Adventure with the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society. 10 a.m. Meet at the old Montauk parking area on Route 27 just west of Daniels Hole Road. 584-7280.

Long Pond Greenbelt Hike with the Southampton Trails Preservation Society. 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor. 848-2255.


Flanders Meander with the Southampton Trails Preservation Society. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the kiosk on Spinney Road on the south side of CR24 just east of Birch Creek. 369-2341.


Winter Solstice Full Moon Night Hike at The Quogue Wildlife Refuge. 5 to 6:30 p.m. For adults and families with children over 11. 3 Old Country Road, Quogue. Free/$5. Reservations required, 653-4771.


Oyster Pond Hike with the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society. 10 a.m. Meet at Third House in Theodore Roosevelt County Park, east of downtown Montauk. 668-2093.


For the Kids


Lego Mania! at Hampton Library. Ages 4 and up. 3:30 p.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015.

Babies & Books, songs, rhymes, stories and art exploration at Hamptons Library. Ages 1 to 3. 10 a.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015.


Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be at the Variety Store on Main Street, Sag Harbor. 11 am. to noon.

Create you Own Gingerbread House at the Children’s Museum of the East End. Ages 4 and up. 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 376 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton. $14//$5 includes admission. 537-8250.

Goat on the Boat Puppet Theatre performs “The Night Before Christmas.” 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Route 114 and East Union Street, behind Christ Episcopal Church, parish hall, lower level. $10/$9/$5 for children under three years. Reservations required, 725-4193.

Children’s Holiday Workshop at the Rogers Mansion. Children ages 7 to 12 explore hands-on holiday crafting. 10:30 a.m. to noon. 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton. $5. Registration required, 283-2494.

Holiday Tours for Families of the Rogers Mansion at Southampton Historical Museum, 17 Meeting House Lane, Southampton. Noon. 283-2494.

Make a Dream Catchers with natural materials at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. 11 a.m. to noon. $5, ages 7 and up. 3 Old Country Road, Quogue. Reservations required, 653-4771.

Story Time at the Hamptons Library. Stories and craft for ages 4 to 7. 10 a.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015.

Bridge Kids Filmz & Pizza shows “Nanny McPhee Returns” at Hamptons Library.

Ages 8 and up. 11:30 a.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015.

Stay & Play at Hamptons Kids. One and half hours of open play followed by a one hour tennis clinic at EHIT. Ages 5 to 11. 5 to 7:30 p.m. 175 Daniel’s Hole Road, East Hampton. Registration required. 537-4614.

Waldo the Clown will be at the Sag Harbor Variety from noon to 1 p.m.


“A Christmas Carol” at Rogers Memorial Library. 2:30 p.m. The Rogers Memorial Library, 91 Cooper’s Farm Road. Registration required, 283-0774 ext. 523.


Winter Solstice Trivia Contest for teens at Hamptons Library. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015.


Baby’s First Story Time, with simple books, songs, rhymes and finger plays for birth to 15 months old. 11 a.m. Hampton Library, 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Free. Registration required, 537-0015.

Stage and Screen


“A Celtic Christmas” performed by Cherish the Ladies. 8 p.m. John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. $23/$25. 324-0806.

Who Did It Better? Movie review and critique of “Cleopatra.” 1 p.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. 537-0015.


Stages, a Children’s Theatre Workshop, Inc., presents “13,” the Broadway Musical about being 13 in three encore performances. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Bay Street Theatre, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. Also Sunday, December 19 at 2 p.m. $15. 725-9500 for tickets. 329-1420 for more information on stages.


Family Matinee Showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Guild Hall followed by a two-course dinner at Rowdy Hall. Screening 3 p.m., dinner 5 to 10 p.m. $25/$15. Guild Hall, 158 Main Street and Rowdy Hall, 10 Main Street, East Hampton 866-811-4111.


“Cleopatra,” presented by Guild Hall and BookHampton as part of The Come Home to Main Street, Tuesdays Film Classics Series. 2 p.m. 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Free to local residents. 324-4939.

at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through June 12. $25/$23. 653-8955.




Christa Maiwald: Selections from Blue Chip, on view at Surface Library as part of the exhibition The Gift of Art, through December 22. A work in progress, consists of fifty hand-embroidered portraits. Thursday through Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. 845 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton. 291-9061.


The Bell’Arte Group which includes local artists Anna Franklin, Cynthia Loewen, Georjana Macri, Lynn Martell, Mary Milne and Bob Schwarz exhibits work at Blue Sky Restaurant, 63 Main Street, Sag Harbor through the end of December.


“Unveiling of the Night Bloomer,” a holiday open house and reception for photographer of Kathryn Szoka botanical exhibit on the Bethlehem Lily orchid cactus. 7 p.m. Canio’s Cultural Café, 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor. Free. 725-4926.

Music & Night Life


The Trio performs at Phao’s Wine and Jazz night. 9-11:45 p.m. Phao Restaurant, 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 725-1774.

Susan Gabriel, a Los Angles based jazz singer and songwriter, performs with an ensemble at Phao Restaurant. 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 725-0101.


Candlelight Fridays at Wölffer Estate presents Clinton Curtis. Wine by the glass, cheese plates for purchase. 5 to 8 p.m. 139 Sagg Road, Bridehampton.537-5106 ext. 10.

Karaoke Night at Phao Restaurant. 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 725-0101.


Christmas Sweater Party at Phao Restaurant. Receive a complimentary drink for wearing a Christmas Sweater with DJ Tone Tigga spinning tunes. 10:30 to 2 a.m. 29 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 725-0101.


The Pizza Place in Bridgehampton (across from K-mart) hosts a live acoustic jazz every Monday night from 6 to 8 p.m. led by musical director Dennis Raffelock. 2123 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton, 537-7865.


Holiday Folk and Roots Music at Ashawagh Hall, holiday celebration and record release concert with singer Job Potter and Caroline Doctorow, both accompanied by musician Pete Kennedy. Corner of Old Stone Highway and Springs Fireplace Road, Springs. $10. rootsmusicfest@gmail.com

Readings, Lectures & Classes


Thursday Night Reads, a monthly film screening and book discussion, screens “The Kite Runner,” based the book by Khaled Hosseini. In celebration of John Jermain Memorial Library’s centennial year. 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the library, 201 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 725-0049 to register.

Beginning ESL Class, for anyone just beginning to speak English. 10 a.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Free. Registration required, 537-0015.


“Are We There Yet?: A Zen Journey Through Space and Time,” discussion by authors Michel Dobbs and Peter Matthiessen retracing Matthiessen´s Nine-Headed Dragon River journey. 6 p.m. Canio’s Cultural Café, 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor. Free. 725-4926.


Author Emma Walton reads from “Little Bo in Italy” 3 p.m. Canio’s Cultural Café, 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor. Free. 725-4926.

Jewelry Making with Kim at Hamptons Library. Make a festive, glass chip bead necklace with a silver snowflake pendant. 3 p.m. 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. $5 Registration required, 537-0015.

Book Signing with Helen Harrison, author of “The Jackson Pollock Box.” 11 a.m.

Guild Hall Lobby, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Free. 324-0806.


English Conversation for adults who need practice speaking English as a second language. 5 p.m. Hampton Library, 2478 Main Street, Bridgehampton. Registration required, 537-0015. Ongoing every Monday.

Events, Workshops & Meetings


Radio City Christmas Spectacular Bus Trip hosted by the Town of Southampton Parks & Recreation Department. Round trip transportation and mezzanine seating. Bus leaves from Red Creek Park, 102 Old Riverhead Road, Hampton Bays at 10 a.m. and departs Manhattan at 7 p.m. $85/ $95. Registration required, 728-8585.


Lantern Tour of historical main street East Hampton. 7 p.m. Reservations required. East Hampton Historical Society, 151 Main Street, East Hampton. 324-6850. $15.

Mommy & Me program with the Family Resource Center. 10 to 11:30 a.m. Free. Springs Youth Building, Ed Hults Lane, East Hampton. 324-4947.


Sag Harbor Holiday & Winter Market. Local winter vegetables, preserves, wine, artisanal cheese, baked goods, treats and handcrafted gifts. Support local farmers and artisans. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ground floor, 34 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 212-644-2604.

A Yuletide Stroll on historic main street with the East Hampton Historical Society and the Village of East Hampton. 3 to 5 p.m. Free with refreshments. 10 James Lane and 14 James Lane, East Hampton. 324-6850.

The East End Classic Boat Society’s open house party. Wine, cheese and a raffle drawing at 5:30 p.m. for a Catspaw Dinghy and trailer. 4 to 6 p.m. Free. Community Boat Shop, 301 Bluff Road, Amagansett. 324-2490.

Holiday House Tour and Cocktail Party hosted by the Quogue Historical. 2to 6 p.m. $100/$75/$50. Call 653-4198 for tickets and information.

“The Nights the Stars Danced,” a day long retreat to reflect on the Christmas Story at the Cormaria Retreat House. 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 77 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. $35. 725-4206.


A Holly Ivy Breakfast, a festive family style breakfast at the Cormaria Retreat. 8:30 to noon. $15/children under 8 free. 77 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 725-4206.

The First Presbyterian (Old Whalers’) Church holds a festival of nine lessons and carols at 10 a.m. and a Christmas open house from 1 to 4 p.m. 44 Union Street, Sag Harbor. Free. 725-0894.

Family Matinee Showing of “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” at Guild Hall followed by a two-course dinner at Rowdy Hall. Screening 3 p.m., dinner 5 to 10 p.m. $25/$15. Guild Hall, 158 Main Street and Rowdy Hall, 10 Main Street, East Hampton 866-811-4111.

Family Christmas Concert & Sing-Along at the Community Bible Church. All welcome and refreshments provided. 7 p.m. 2837 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor. 725-4155.


A Blood Drive will be held at Pierson High School gym. 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. 16 years old and older to donate.

Mommy & Me program and story time with the Friends of the Montauk Library and Family Resource Center. 10 to 11:30 a.m. Free. Montauk Highway, Montauk. 324-4947.


3rd Annual Holiday Concert and Sing-A-Long at the Bay Street Theatre, with Broadway singer Ciaran Sheehan and pianist Brenda Landrum. 7 p.m. Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. Free with a canned good donation. 725-9500.