Emily Roden hopes to teach parents to be more intentional when it comes to educating their young children.
“The achievement gap starts way before kindergarten,” said Roden, who was an elementary school teacher and has worked in educational publishing. Children are already coming in kindergarten behind, she said.
Parents need to start training their children to be good thinkers and problem solvers early on, she said.
Roden struggled to come up with ideas for teaching her two children. She thought a quick video everyday would be an easy way to solve the dilemma.
That’s why Roden created ReadyRosie, a video-based readiness curriculum for parents and adults who care for children up to age 4. The program was named after her 4-year-old daughter.
She consulted with education experts to build a curriculum and gathered local talent to create the videos based on the curriculum.
The two-minute videos teach adults how to improve the child’s literacy and math skills while they are in everyday situations such as at the grocery store, doctor’s office, a restaurant and on the bus.
“They are consistent reminders of what we can be doing to take advantage of instructional moments,” Roden said.
One of the ReadyRosie videos to teach literacy shows a mother teaching her daughter how to echo words and sounds as she’s driving. Another video shows a father teaching his daughter how to count while they are at a restaurant.
“One of the most important things research is showing us is word knowledge,” Roden said. “Kids come to school without a lot of word exposure.”
The ReadyRosie videos try to highlight six or seven words in each video, she said.
The videos will be e-mailed out to parents, teachers and caregivers Monday through Friday. In each e-mail, there is an English video, a Spanish video and an expert video, which Roden describes as the “why” behind the activity.
Roden and the ReadyRosie team are approaching school districts around the state about offering the curriculum to parents.
The school districts would pay per child and offer it to the parents at no cost, Roden said.
School districts in Texas are given grants specifically geared toward parent education, Roden said.
It’s part of the Texas State Literacy Plan, the goal of which is to “ensure that every Texas child is strategically prepared for the literacy demands of college and/or career by high school graduation,” according to the Texas Education Agency website. “To achieve this goal, the plan centers on early language and pre-literacy skills for age 0 to school entry and on reading and writing instruction for students in grades K-12.”
The ReadyRosie team is building the curriculum on evidence-based components for literacy learning, such as phonological and phonemic awareness, concepts about print, letter knowledge and alphabetic recognition, emergent writing, speaking skills, vocabulary development and phonics and word recognition.
Roden enlisted the help of other teachers she knows, such as Candis Grover, who helps come up with bilingual content for the videos.
“I was really fascinated with the idea,” Grover said when Roden approached her through Facebook. “I’ve always been in education, but this has been a new way. It’s very creative.”
Parents are the child’s first teachers, Grover said. As a parent herself, she’s identified strengths and challenges in her children. She knows one of her daughters learns through song and the other daughter draws. She said it will make her a better advocate for them when they start school.
Melissa Nast is the math consultant for ReadyRosie.
“What I’m trying to do with the math is show parents how they can incorporate math in their everyday life … at the dinner table or the grocery store,” Nast said.
The goal of the math videos is to help parents teach their children numbers, geometry, measurement, probability and data analysis. And it doesn’t have to be standard measuring with a ruler; it can be measuring how long the table is in menus, Nast said. Or creating a pattern by doing something such as setting the table, she added.
“I think a lot of times when the school asks the parents to reinforce things at home — like patterns — parents, especially if they don’t have a strong math background, may not have the time to come up with things at home,” Nast said.
Nast has a background in math education, teaching fifth- and sixth-graders as well as writing a book of math activities.
What’s taught in the ReadyRosie videos is something parents can recreate, and it will reinforce what will be taught in the classroom, she said.
Nast was excited to be involved in the project.
“It’s something I thought has been needed for a long time,” she said.
Grover said the goal with the videos was to use everyday items that are already accessible to parents so they wouldn’t have to go purchase items or make them.
“We want it to have a big academic influence,” she said, as well as build stronger relationships between parents and children.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
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