Academic Support

April, 2019

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading.  Your child has learned a variety of strategies that help them further understand what they are reading.  Some of the strategies your child has learned are making predictions, asking questions, visualizing, and inferring.  Another main comprehension strategy of Kindergarten is retelling and summarizing the main parts and ideas of the story.  One important way children develop their comprehension is when stories are read to them.  Here at MSKC, teachers are constantly modeling and helping your child develop their comprehension skills during interactive read alouds.  This is also something that you can easily do at home when reading to your child!  Below are some examples of questions you can ask while reading to them:

-What do you predict will happen next?

-What are you wondering about our story?

-How do you imagine it looked like?

-What connections do you have?

-Can you identify the characters and setting?

-What has happened so far in our story?

-Can you retell the story?

 Kirstin Sullivan, Reading Specialist,


Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report

Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report  

We are so happy to say hello to Spring!  In March, we had a lot of fun learning about how animals move: we slithered like snakes, crawled like turtles, and hopped like frogs.  We used puppets to act out one of our favorite counting stories, Rooster's Off to See the World, and we continue our practice using sequence words when we tell stories.  We are reading and writing up a storm!  Students have been artists this past month, too, working together to create posters to show different action words - jumping, dancing, etc., and making spring flowers for our classroom.  It is such a delight to watch our students' language skills blooming along with the spring flowers! 

Andrea Sherbakov, EL Teacher,


Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

This month, I came across an article that I would like to share that discusses the importance of a dynamic tripod grip and handwriting.  The dynamic tripod grip involves holding a writing implement resting against the middle finger, while the thumb and the index finger control the pencil, pen, marker or crayon.  There are a variety of other functional ways to grip a writing implement, but the dynamic tripod grip has traditionally been considered the preferred grasp for writing speed, control, and form.  The dynamic tripod grip is important because it is an efficient way for holding a writing implement for legibility and endurance when writing.  An inefficient or immature writing grasp pattern can result in writer’s cramp, fatigue, improper letter formation, decreased writing speed, increased pencil pressure, or too little pressure during writing.  Once a grip pattern has been established, it can be difficult to modify.  As guardians and parents, it is important to make sure that children have the last two fingers tucked into the palm of the hand and that the pencil (eraser pointing towards the body rather than the ceiling) should rest on the middle finger, with the index finger and thumb controlling the pencil movements.  The thumb and index finger should form a circle.

Here are some tips to ensure and encourage tripod grasp:

·       Make sure the child is sitting with proper posture for writing practice- hips, knees at 90 degrees and feet on floor, elbows should be bent at least 90 degrees

·       Use small pencils - golf pencils are great - small crayons, and small pieces of chalk

·       Cue child to use proper fingers when coloring or printing and not use their whole arm (just use the fingers)

·       Small elastics around the pencils where fingers should go (near the tip)

·       Write on a vertical surface, easels, hang paper on the wall

·       Practice daily using the proper grip

I hope that you have found the information helpful, and that you successfully practice the tripod grip with your child.

Amy Sherwin C.O.T.A/L, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant,


Ms. Casucci's Speech and Language Update

Ms. Casucci’s Speech and Language Update 

Happy Spring MSKC families! Thank you for all the hard work you are doing with your child outside the classroom!

This April, we will move to a spring theme.  Pragmatic language concepts will include conversational exchanges, the size of the problem compared to the size of the reaction, and remaining on task.  We will also continue to focus on appropriately playing games and interacting with peers.

Book of the monthThere Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Frog by Lucille Colandro.

Sample targeted vocabulary will include: frog, dirt, seeds, sunlight, rain, gloves, rake

Home activity: Take a walk outside with your child!  Enjoy the nice weather, and play a favorite game outdoors.  Have your child direct you in what game to play and how to play it.  Is it a racing game? A jumping game? A building game? The possibilities are endless!

Closing word: April is Autism Awareness Month, and World Autism Awareness Day is April 2nd, 2019.  Here at MSKC, we are all a family. Each student is unique, with special talents and gifts.  Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Email me anytime with any questions or concerns!  

Ashley Casucci, MS CCC-SLP


Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon

Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon

What are Coordination Skills?

Coordination skills include bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination.

Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body together in a coordinated way. This could be either be with both hands working together (such as rolling play dough) or alternating hands (such as pulling hand-over-hand on a rope).

Eye-hand coordination (also called visual motor integration) is the ability for the eyes to guide the hands (such as catching a ball).

There are many fun activities that can be done at home to address coordination skills. 

This includes:

  • ball play: using small, medium, and large balls to catch, throw, bounce, and kick
  • beanbag toss games
  • balloon volleyball
  • hit a balloon with a tennis racket or paddle
  • rolling ball with 2 hands: bowling by knocking over 2-liter soda bottles
  • flashlight tag 
  • making snowballs, snowmen, and snow angels in the snow
  • Simon Says, Hokey Pokey
  • wheelbarrow walking
  • crawl on all fours: forward, backward, sideways or change direction on command.
  • walking like different animals- gorilla crouch walking, bear walking, snake crawling, bird walking, crab walking, donkey kicks, seal walking. 

Have fun!

Elisa Dillon, Physical Therapist,


From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

Despite March coming in like a lion, we have enjoyed meeting in our lunch bunches during the month. March lunch bunches have been focused on continuing our work with identifying size of the problem, the size of our reaction, and being active problem solvers.  Thank you for your support, and for sending your children in with peanut free lunches for lunch bunch.

We have had fun learning about and flexing our problem solving muscles, through games and role plays with our friends Puppy and Snail.  We have also shared some stories, including a few from our buddies Elephant and Piggie!

As our kindergarteners test the waters with their independent problem solving skills, our support will help build their confidence.  Helping our students to identify the size of the problem; small (I can solve it myself), medium (I need a little to some, support from an adult), or big (this is a problem for grown-ups to work together to solve), and then expressing a “you can do it” attitude, will help our students develop their confidence and independence in problem solving.  Sharing stories together, and discussing size of the problem, as well as how the characters were independent problem solvers, is also a great way to promote both reading and problem solving skills.  

In April, we will be working on inviting friends to play.  It is such a pleasure working with your children. Please feel free to reach out at any time with questions or concerns.

Emily Kidd, School Psychologist,