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West Jordan Journal

Westvale Elementary staff provide tips and resources for parents in weekly videos

Oct 04, 2022 12:11PM ● By Jet Burnham

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Got a minute to improve your child’s academic skills? Westvale Elementary is building a video library of Tip of the Week videos to help parents help their children. The short clips feature school staff members sharing tips on a variety of topics, including the importance of a daily routine, games that develop pre-reading skills, activities that encourage curiosity, games for typing practice, etc.

“It's a quick little one to two minute video of something easy that parents can learn to do that can help their kids,” assistant principal David Hullinger said.

One video showed parents a few games they can play while driving in the car which will help their kids become better readers. The games which instructional coaches Karen Walter and Connie Roe demonstrated in their video clip help build phonemic awareness, one of the skills kids need to learn to read.

“Our focus right now is so much on those foundational skills, and phonemic awareness is one of them that is a huge indicator of future reading success,” Walter said. “We just wanted to have it out there for parents to access.

The two coaches actually played the game, with Roe playing the role of a child and Walter playing the role of the parent.

“It was something to help parents visualize what it is they could be doing with their kids and how easy it was without having to have a lot of materials, just in the car,” Roe said. “You can do it anytime. You don't even have to think about it. Just make it playful and fun for the kids.”

Kristy Fuller, whose two children attend Westvale, thought the video clip was a great way to help parents support their children’s reading skills development.

“Usually the only opportunity is at literacy nights and they send home games, but parents have to come to get those things,” she said.

A quick video reaches more parents, in an easily accessible format, said Walter, and is easier than sending home a packet of games that parents have to remember how to do at home.

“Parents love their kids, they want to do what’s best, but they don’t always know  how and this is a great way to get that out there,” Walter said. “It's a quick little one minute. You've got your phone and you can click on it. Anybody has a minute that they can watch a video. That one minute can be powerful.”

Each week throughout the year, a new tip will be shared by a faculty member in a short and engaging video. It will be posted on Westvale Elementary’s Facebook and Instagram pages and embedded in the school’s digital newsletter. Staff members will choose the topic they want to present.

“We're going to let teachers speak to something that they're passionate about,” Hullinger said.

Hullinger films and edits the segments, using the skills he gained from his experience working as a radio DJ and the audio visual skills class he took in high school. It’s something he successfully implemented at a previous school with the goal to support parents who want to help their children but may not know how.

He said some parents never had a good experience with their own education and this approach doesn’t judge parents for what they aren’t doing but meets them where they are and gives them tools.

“Everybody's doing the best that they know how to, but sometimes we have to build their capacity to do that,” Hullinger said.