Academic Support

February 2019

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

What does it mean for your child to be a fluent early reader? Fluency is an important aspect of literacy and the bridge between decoding and comprehension. In order for students to focus more on the content of what they are reading, they must rely less on decoding. This is done by becoming a fluent reader, like all of us! One important aspect of fluency for your child is being able to decode words accurately and automatically. In order to accurately decode words, children must say all the sounds in the word correctly. In order to automatically decode words, children must be able to simply blend the sounds together to read the whole word. These are both very important focuses in Kindergarten. Another important aspect of fluency, besides decoding, is identifying high frequency words to help us read sentences. A general way to think about fluency is that we want our reading to sound like our speaking, at a conversational rate and with expression. There are many areas of fluency your child may be working on, such as accurately reading words, automatically reading words, reading in phrases, or reading with expression. One way you can support your child in their fluency is by reading to your child daily and modeling for them what fluent reading looks like! So grab a good book and get reading!

 Kirstin Sullivan, Reading Specialist,


Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report

Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report  

I don’t know about you, but February is one of my favorite times of year.  Why?  Because it’s the perfect time to sit down and read a good book, of course!

You already know that reading to your children is fun and beneficial.  But did you know that literacy in your home language can encourage your child’s development of literacy in English?  Whether you read together in English, another language, or both, I encourage you to check out our local library!  In addition to a great collection of children’s literature in English, the library network also has a limited collection of children’s books in Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, and more.  You can use the advanced search option on the library website ( to look for books by language, target age, location, and more.  If a book you want is at another library in the network, you can request it and pick it up at Thayer Public Library.

You only need a library card, which is free!  If you don’t have a library card yet, you can apply for one at the library front desk.  You need identification with your address on it, such as a driver’s license.  The Thayer Public Library is located not far from MSKC, at 798 Washington Street in Braintree.

For more of the library’s services (including their great museum pass program), check out their website here:

Happy reading!

Andrea Sherbakov, EL Teacher,


Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

The month of February is great to work on fine motor skills indoors, since the weather tends to be cold outside.  I would love for parents and guardians to focus on dexterity skills with their children.  I’ve come up with some fine motor activities that will work on the small muscles in their hands and their fingers.  Please remember that these activities should remain fun, and if your child is struggling, try modeling and/or assist your child so that they will be able to successfully complete the activity.  If necessary, you may always try again later when your child feels more relaxed and is ready to attempt the task.  Some activities are made for families to do together!  Family time is always great in my book.  Enjoy!

1.     While seated at a table, practice cutting skills with child friendly scissors or self- opening scissors that may be found at a dollar store - Practice on old magazines, newspapers, or construction paper.  Then make a collage.  *** Remember to keep BOTH THUMBS UP WHEN CUTTING! Parent and/or guardian supervision strongly recommended!***

2.     Theraputty - There is a recipe on Pinterest for a homemade recipe that should last for months.  Another option is Aaron’s Thinking Putty, which can be found at the Paper Store (it may be more money than the homemade version).  Rolling out theraputty into a snake or a hotdog and then pinching small scales along the top with just the index and thumb improves the strength of the writing hand (dominant hand).  Theraputty offers more resistance than regular Playdough and is typically allergy free.

3.     Playdough - Again, rolling, pinching, and squeezing the dough improves hand strength. Whether it be homemade playdough or store bought does not matter.  Making playdough from scratch is a fun activity to do together!

4.     While seated at the table, try stringing small beads and pipe cleaners - Use only the index finger and the thumb of the writing hand (dominant hand) to pick up the beads and string them on the pipe cleaner.  Remove the same way.

5.     While seated at a table, use a strawberry huller and only 3 digits on the writing hand/dominant hand, pick up pom poms (small ones), small beads, or dried beans, cross the body and place in a container - Also, using a strawberry huller while playing family games is a great way to move the game pieces across the board while building hand strength and crossing midline.  It’s a new and exciting way to play games!  The children will think it’s fun and silly!

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


Ms. Harmon's Speech and Language Update

Ms. Harmon’s Speech and Language Update 

Happy Winter, MSKC families!  In February, we will continue our winter theme and add in Valentine's Day.  Pragmatic language concepts will include thinking with our eyes, following the group plan, as well as labeling expected versus unexpected behavior using targeted video models.  We will also continue to focus on appropriately playing games and sharing with peers.

Book of the monthThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro

Sample targeted vocabulary/concepts will include: rose, lace, glitter, candy, jewel, heart

Home activity:  Since it is cold outside, stay warm inside and prepare a meal with your child.  Have your child participate with you by giving your child directions.  For example, “First get out the bread and then the cheese,” or “Pour the water into the bowl.”  If you are feeling adventurous, have your child direct you on what to do.  Cooking is a great activity to promote language!

Email me anytime with any questions or concerns! 

Ashley Harmon, MS CCC-SLP


Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon

Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon

Fun in the Snow

During this winter season, I hope you and your student are able to enjoy the snow.  Here are some suggestions for activities that will work on gross motor skills while you and your student “play” in the snow.

  • Have your child put on their own boots, hats, gloves, scarfs, and coats ~ give help only when needed
  • Sledding
  • Snow Angels
  • Making snowballs- squeezing and molding the snow between gloved hands, then throw the snowballs- either at a target (snowman) or see who can throw the longest
  • Making snowmen- starting with a snowball, push the snowball through the snow making a large ball
  • Catching snowflakes with your tongue
  • Jumping in the snow and piles of snow
  • Walking in deep snow, have them follow in your footprints or try to create their own paths
  • Use a spray bottle with water and food coloring to create colored snow-~have your student spray the solution using both hands
  • Practice writing letters, numbers, and shapes in the snow
  • Have your student help shovel
  • Create snow “hurdles” with piles of snow and have you student try to jump or leap over the hurdles
  • Create a snow obstacle course ~ using the snow hurdles created, have the child jump over, or go around, the hurdles -   show direction by writing arrows in the snow
  • Create a snow maze with simple lines, twists, and turns by dragging the by dragging the shovel or shoveling a path through the snow
  • Create “snow” castles - get the sandbox toys, and have your child create their own snow castle

As always, safety first when outdoors.  Watch temperatures and wind chills.  Be sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather.

Have fun!

Elisa Dillon, Physical Therapist,


From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

January has brought chilly weather our way, but that has not stopped us from having so much fun at MSKC! Thank you for your support, and for sending your children in with peanut free lunches for lunch bunch.

During the month of January, we have been working on more strategies for managing frustration, calming down strong feelings, and handling waiting. We have enjoyed visits from Pushy Puppy and Slow Down snail, and some fun books and activities to practice being the boss of our bodies and feelings. We even had fun voting on our favorite calming strategies.

As our kindergarteners are working so hard on their reading and math skills, frustration can sometimes arise. We may see it with our children working through their own challenges, or being patient as a friend is learning a new skill. Talking with your child about how we all have our different strengths and challenges can be helpful in developing empathy and patience with others. Sharing stories of tasks that were once hard for you, or a friend, and how you worked through your own frustration can be a great conversation starter for your own child to share their triumphs and struggles.

In February, we will be working further on managing disappointment, problem solving, and inviting others to play. It is such a pleasure working with your children! Please feel free to reach out at any time. Thank you for your collaboration in your child’s educational experience.

Emily Kidd, School Psychologist,