Academic Support

October, 2018

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

Reading News from Ms. Sullivan

Learning to read is such an important part of Kindergarten!  Here at MSKC, it is our goal to provide each child with the instruction and support needed to help them develop their early reading skills.  In order to do so, we implement five different components that research has shown teach children how to effectively read.  These five components are phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. These areas of reading fit together like a puzzle and are often referred to as the “Big Ideas” of reading.

One way at MSKC that we determine how students are doing on these important reading skills is through a universal screening tool called DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills). These quick DIBELS tests are administered three times a year and provide us with information about your child’s reading abilities and how he or she is progressing. The information gained from DIBELS helps identify students who would benefit from extra support in learning the skills to become a successful reader.

We also want to make sure that you feel equipped to support your child in this exciting adventure of reading.  On October 10th at 9:15 a.m. or 6:00 p.m., I invite you to come and join me to learn more about how your child is learning to read and what you can do at home to support your child as an early reader.  Please see invite in this newsletter for details!

Kirstin Sullivan, Reading Specialist,


Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report

Ms. Sherbakov’s EL Report  

Hello, MSKC families!

As the English Learner teacher here, I have spent much of the first month of school meeting many of the fantastic children at MSKC.  If you listed another language on your home language survey, which was part of kindergarten registration paperwork, I met with your child and administered a brief screening to determine whether or not your child qualifies as an English Learner.  Please note that this is true even if the other language is only spoken by one family member, or very infrequently - if it's on the form, the screening is required by the state.  Our students and their families report speaking some 22 different languages at home!  If your child was screened, you will be receiving a letter from me shortly, informing you of whether or not your child has qualified for English Learner support this year, along with more information about the program.  I'm looking forward to working with some of our great MSKC children this year!

Andrea Sherbakov, EL Teacher,

Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin

Welcome to MSKC and the start of a new school year!  This year, I will be including activities in the newsletter for parents/guardians to do at home.     It is important for children to practice forming their letters and numbers, and to work on hand strength development through play activities.  Hand strength development is achieved over the preschool and kindergarten years through regular exposure to fine motor activities.  Included are a few activities to develop hand strength for school-related performance.  They are meant as a guide, so please be creative and make your own fun!

Play-Doh is good; Theraputty is better.  If possible, you can purchase Theraputty for home use through Amazon or Therapro.  The website for Therapro is  Also, I have seen silly putty at the grocery stores in little plastic eggs.  You would need a few in order to have enough to develop nice hand strength.  I recommend 6 oz. of medium or soft putty.  Caution-keep away from clothing, upholstery, and carpet!  It does not come out.  Please use at a table or on tile flooring to avoid any accidents.

·       You can have your child just play with it, create animals, press, poke, and roll.  It makes it more interesting when you hide plastic beads or small plastic toys inside the putty.

·       Press plastic letters or shapes, or use cookie cutters, into the putty.

·       Use scissors to cut the putty or cut around the shapes.

Vertical work surfaces, created with an easel, naturally promote wrist extension and finger flexion.  By repeatedly assuming this position, children are naturally building pre-writing related hand strength.

·       Tape paper bags/ large pieces of paper to the refrigerator and have your child high-kneeling to color or practice letters.

These are just a few suggestions to practice and to promote hand strength and proper grasp on writing implements. 

Remember to have fun during these activities and always supervise your child.

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 

Hello MSKC families!  It has been a pleasure to get to know your student(s) during the month of September!  Each newsletter will include a preview of what we will be working on for the following month in speech and language sessions.  I will be focusing more on the ‘language’ component of ‘speech and language’ in these newsletters. 

This October, we will have a Halloween theme in speech and language sessions!  We will also be working on important pragmatic (social) language concepts such as expected and unexpected behavior when trick-or-treating, appropriately entering and exiting conversations, listening to others, and remaining on topic.

Book of the Month: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat by Lucille Colandro.

Targeted vocabulary: ghost, goblin, bat, bones, owl, old lady, trick-or-treat

Home Activity: Take a walk around your neighborhood and look at the Halloween decorations! Discuss what you see, hear, smell, touch, and feel around you.  There are excellent opportunities to encourage complete sentences and descriptive words.  For example, “Look! A big, white ghost! Doesn’t he look scary?” and “Wow, two orange pumpkins! See how one is bigger than the other? Which one is bigger?”

Email me anytime with any questions or concerns!

Email me anytime at with any questions or concerns!

Ashley Harmon, MS CCC-SLP

Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon

Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon


Elisa Dillon, Physical Therapist,

From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

From Our School Psychologist - Ms. Kidd's Corner

Fall is here!  Our new kindergarten friends are settling into their school routines as we move into the beauty of the changing season.  During this time, we will be beginning our lunch bunches and snack bunches.  I am excited to offer these sessions to our students.

Lunch/snack bunch is offered once a week during lunch/snack for students.  We work on being a good friend, a successful student, and managing our feelings.  Our lessons complement the Second Step curriculum, being shared by our classroom teachers.  The group is meant to be a fun learning environment, which empowers our students to become independent in using their “toolkit” of strategies for successfully navigating their school day.

As we start the school year, one of the initial challenges many of our kindergarteners face is separating from home, and their very important caregivers.  Oftentimes, this can feel overwhelming for our students, and can be upsetting to us as parents, too!  Happily, as our students get busy with their day, they are quickly caught up with the excitement of learning. Having predictable routines for the transition to the school day can be very helpful in reducing anxiety for our students.  For example, every morning having a set schedule of helping to get lunch, backpack and jacket together, and perhaps a special hug or handshake to say goodbye.  It can be helpful if our students are also reminded of what to look forward to after school, such as a special activity with their caregiver.  Oftentimes, our students are still working on understanding the concept of the passage of time, so these reminders can be helpful in giving them something to look forward to.

In October, we will be working on using self-talk effectively, being assertive, and identifying feelings.  I am looking forward to working with our kindergarten friends!

Please feel free to reach out at any time. Thank you for your collaboration in your child’s educational experience.

Emily Kidd, School Psychologist,