November 2, 2023

A Letter from Ashley Howard, Learning and Literacy Specialist

Dear Harbor Families, 

Can you remember the first storybook that you read as a child? Do you happen to  remember a series that you enjoyed reading? Do you remember the very first chapter book that you read?

For me, the first book that I can remember reading fluently was Go Dog Go By Dr. Suess. What a thrill it was to read that book proudly to my parents!  As a child of the 90s, I also had a keen interest in the Berenstain Bears books. I can officially declare the Berenstain Bears as my first favorite series. I remember Ramona Forever, by Beverly Cleary, being one of the first chapter books I read. 

It is always fascinating to me to hear what kids are interested in reading. Every Thursday, students come to the library to check out a new book. I have started to categorize some of the popular books that are checked out each week as  “Harbor Faves”. These include: The Dog Man series, Elephant and Piggie, and the new Baby-Sitters Club (yes, there is a new series). It is a joy to see students select their favorite book to check out for the week and carry the book out of the library with great pride and enthusiasm!

Every Thursday, as I listen to students read their books to each other, I am reminded that developing a love for literature and books is essential to the early childhood experience. It is such an honor to get to experience the wonder that is apparent when students find a new book that captures their interest. 

My work with our library reinforces my role as the Learning Specialist here at The Harbor School. I have firsthand experience in seeing how learning reading strategies nurtures confidence in students and in turn, leads to academic success. I am constantly reminded that fostering the skills, fluency, and confidence in reading can greatly motivate our students and inevitably fosters each student’s unique capabilities.  

You may be familiar with multisensory instruction.  Multisensory instruction for reading phonics  incorporates  learning through all pathways: visual, kinesthetic, auditory, and tactile.  All students can benefit from multisensory strategies for reading, and teaching these strategies to students supports them to become fluent readers and in turn impacts growth and progress academically. This past Friday during our Professional Day, we spent time as a faculty exploring multisensory approaches and adding to our repertoire of classroom strategies.  

I am looking forward to talking more about multisensory reading instruction and highlighting other topics related to our practices of supporting each student's unique learning experience in our parent session tomorrow. Following the presentation, you will have the opportunity to visit your child’s classroom. And of course, feel free to stop by our library during your visit. 

Finally, we are excited that our very own HSPA is planning for our Book Fair in just two weeks. This annual event supports our goal of nurturing a love of reading and is a wonderful community-building event! Stay tuned for more information from the HSPA.

I hope that I will see you tomorrow morning! 


Ashley Howard
Learning and Literacy Specialist

Harbor School