Antique Journal and Gold Fountain Pen

From the Principal's Pen

Raising lifelong learners

presented by Jen Bencivengo

The Beginning

I have long said my first teacher and best teacher is my mother. Using everyday tools we had at home, she reinforced every skill formally taught in the hallowed halls of my schools. Struggling with equivalent fractions? We whipped up a batch of cookies with only a ¼ and ½ cup measuring tools and she reinforced what a worksheet of odd problems never could. Letters, magnetized and left on the refrigerator, beckoned me to change consonants and vowels opening a world of new words while she patiently stirred Sunday sauce. Learning was everywhere and lessons occurred on car rides, in grocery stores, on beaches and shores. The love of learning she fostered was lifelong and now pours from this Principal's Pen.

The Investment


Stories, like a favorite dessert and meant to be savored and shared

  • Lifelong learning begins with the earliest sharing of books and stories between a parent/caregiver and child
  • Reading to a child is not a passive task - It is an actively engaged experience sharing words, illustrations, and memories
  • Early literacy skills begin long before children can recognize letters and sounds

Man Reading Bedtime Story to His Child


Investing in today, pays dividends tomorrow

  • Early emphasis on social, emotional and academic learning fosters children willing to take risks and face challenges
  • Establish routines and structures to model executive functioning skills
  • Encourage questioning and risk taking while reinforcing consequences and outcomes
  • Model empathy, compassion and selflessness through actions not words
Supporting a child's ambition

The Experience

Kid learning to read. Phonics flash cards.

Recognizing Letters and Sounds

Playing with letters and words using alphabet pasta, shaving cream, magnetic letters, even a stick in the sand provides children joyful exposure to letters and sounds

Woman Reading Book to Toddler

Rhyme and Word Play

Creating games with rhyme and word play allows children to practice exploring phonemic awareness and sound skill practice

Mom Teaching Daughter to Read

Shared Experience

the benefit of reading to your children not only results in significant increases in word exposure, but also reinforces social emotional learning and executive functioning skills

The Resources

Seven Research Based Ways

Families Promote Early Literacy

Report to Parents

National Association for Elementary School Principals

Raising Lifelong Learners Presentation Part 1

Shared Read Aloud

Raising Lifelong Learners Presentation Part 2

What Is Dialogic Reading?

Strategies for Dialogic Reading At Home


Prompt Your Child to Say Something about the Book


Evaluate Their Response


Expand on Their Response


Repeat the Prompt and See If They Understand

Parent Reading Bedtime Story to Child at Home
Happy father reading to child






Completed Prompt

Fill in the Blank

Recall Prompt

Can you tell me what happened

Open Ended

Tell me what is happening in the picture

WH Questions

Who, What, When,

Where, Why


Remember when we... how can you connect

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

No matter what you celebrate book giving over the holidays is a great way to grow your Home Learning Environments! Scholastic Books has extensive collections on sale this time of year, and most schools offer a holiday book fair. Discounted book sales can be found at these book wholesale websites as well:

giving books for christmas,books as christmas gift,christmas present,reading,literature,education,making a gift concept, copy space
Reading A Christmas Book

Holiday Book Gifting by the Numbers

Blue Christmas Bauble

Celebrate Hanukkah with 8 books; one for each night

Make an Advent Calendar with 24 books to open while you wait for the arrival of Santa

Honor the 12 days of Christmas with 12 books

Blue Christmas Bauble
Blue Christmas Bauble
Tape Strip
White Paper

Jennifer Bencivengo

Happy Reading!

Sharing a love of learning for over 25 years!