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ReadyRosie: Online Videos Help Parents Get Young Kids Ready For School

Two minutes. That’s all the time you need to teach your child something new.

That’s the idea behind a series of instructional videos several North Texas school districts are offering parents. This new tool, called ReadyRosie, is getting preschool kids ready for the classroom.

When Emily Roden had her first child, she realized she was going to have to teach young Rosie a few things before she got to Kindergarten. She spent a lot of time searching online, but all she could find were worksheets.

“First of all, you can’t teach a 2-year old with a worksheet. You know?” Roden said. “They need to explore and talk and have language and play and all those kinds of things.”

That’s when Roden and several other parents came up with the idea to create two-minute videos that show parents and children in different settings. The videos teach parents how to use time with their kids wisely.

In the past year, school districts such as Arlington, Richardson, Denton, Lewisville and Fort Worth have bought online subscriptions. The material covered in the videos is aligned with the state's pre-K guidelines and the state's standards, or Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, for Kindergarten.

Parents as teachers

“I truly believe that schools have the potential to utilize their most underutilized resource and that is parents, because they love their kids and they want them to succeed,” Roden said.

At a recent meeting in Fort Worth, Roden talked about the role parents play.

“When we ask you to work with your child, it literally takes minutes a day and that’s all you have to do is just take two minutes while you’re driving in the car and have that interaction, or two minutes while you’re buying your vegetables at the grocery store to have that interaction,” Roden said.

Easy to sign up

All parents need to access the videos is an email address. Parents can sign up at the ReadyRosie website and then they’ll start getting “daily dings.”

Each video starts out with the same playful tune.

Mom: “Hey Amber, do you want to play a game?”

Daughter: “Huh.”

Mom: “This is an echo game. Do you know what echo is?”

Daughter: “No.”

Mom: “I’m gonna say a word and you’re going to echo it back to me. So if I say dog, you say dog.”

Daughter: “Dog.”

Mom: “If I say cat, what do you say?”

Daughter: “Uh, cat.”

Mom: “That’s right.”

Cracking the language barrier

Parent Rojelio Tijerina says what he likes about the videos is that they’re available in English and Spanish. Most of the parents at the school where he volunteers are bilingual or speak mostly Spanish. Tijerina said it’s important that all parents – regardless of the language barrier – learn how to help their children.

Fort Worth school district officials think the videos can help as many 50,000 children in the district. Jennifer Perez, the district’s director of family communications, said she stresses to parents just how easy it is to use these videos.

“We’re not relying on them to have to come to a school, take the time out of their busy days,” Perez said. “They can do this at home. They can do it on the road. They can do it at the grocery store. They’re not having to reinvent their day around this.”

Perez said she’s already tried out what she’s learned on her two boys, ages three and four. So far, she says, it’s working.

Watch some ReadyRosie videos below or by going to the ReadyRosie site.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.