Ready Set Go 2020: Week 5

Hello new Breakthrough Schools families! 

If you are new to receiving this regular communication, Ready Set Go, for new families and scholars or if you have received previous editions I am really excited to connect with you, answer your questions, and share some resources and events happening around Cleveland.  This week I have been thinking a lot about how important preparation is when successfully accomplishing a new task.  A runner engages in hours of training before a race to help him or her prepare.  A scholar studies hard before a big exam.  For our new kindergarten scholars preparation is equally important.  Here are some activities from our kindergarten teachers that you and your scholar can work on together over the summer to prepare for kindergarten:

  1. Self-help Skills ‚Äď
    • Make sure your child knows and responds to their first and last names - not just family nicknames.
    • Practice buttoning buttons, zipping jackets, belts and tying shoes independently.
    • Kindergarteners must be fully potty trained and able to take care of their bathroom needs without adult assistance unless documentation of a diagnosed medical issue is provided. We understand that accidents may happen, so please be sure to provide them an extra set of clothes, including underwear, in a Ziploc bag to keep at school.
  2. Following Directions & Paying Attention
    • Give your child a simple set of two and three step directions to follow. It could be something like; put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, and turn on your nightlight.
    • Play the classic "Simon Says" game with them. It's a great game for following directions and paying attention to the changes in the words.
    • Use preset timeframes to help your child successfully complete tasks. For example, you have 10 more minutes to finish your dinner. Set a timer and hold them to this time limit.
  3. Develop Social Skills
    • Teach your child to express their feelings in a way that isn't aggressive or doesn‚Äôt involve crying.
    • Talk about problems they might have, don't just tell him/her something is wrong. Explain to him/her why it is wrong.
    • Discuss the difference between school behaviors and home behaviors. For example rough play may be okay at home, but not at school.
  4. Shapes and Colors
    • Play games in which your child finds objects of particular colors and shapes around the house or in the neighborhood as you drive. Play ‚ÄúI Spy‚ÄĚ
    • Teach difficult shapes such as pentagons and diamonds by showing them how to draw them on paper and then cutting them out.
  5. Writing
    • Teach them how to write their name using proper capitalization.
    • Have your child practice writing the alphabet and pick out the letters that spell their name. Teach them the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters.
    • Use play dough and have them create different letters with it. This will not only help make reading and writing fun, but also improve their motor skills.
  6. Letter Recognition
    • Get a large set of letter refrigerator magnets. This allows your child to make learning fun as they move letters around to make simple words.
    • Develop games and song rhymes to make learning letters fun and engaging.
    • Write a series of words on a piece of paper, for example, box, ran, back, fan, boy. Ask your child to circle all the words that begin with the letter b.
  7. Number Recognition and Counting
    • Make counting part of everything. Have them count how many spoons are on the dinner table, how many socks you are folding.
    • Grab two dice and a piece of paper with the numbers two through twelve written on it. Have your child roll the dice, count all the dots, and circle each number until you've rolled them all.
  8. Sounding out Letters
    • Teach your child that letters represent sounds and that each one makes a different sound.
    • Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the difference.
    • Find items around the house that begin with the same sound and have them identify the letter that makes that sound.
  9. Reading Readiness
    • As you read to your child, run your finger under the words as you move through the sentence. This will help them to understand that words move left to right and top to bottom.
    • Playing a word game that separates the beginning and ending sound of a word. This allows them to put the sounds together to guess the word (example; say we are going to play a game. I am going to say the beginning and ending sound of a word, and you tell me what the word is. What is the word if I say b-all (ball), m-an (man), c-at (cat)
    • Read to your children every day using tools like song books, picture books, rhyming books and alphabet books. The library is a great resource to get a variety of books.¬† You can change them out every few weeks.¬† Speaking of books keep reading Ready Set Go for regular suggestions by grade level.



Kareemah Williams
Parent of Two Breakthrough Alum
Former Board Member of Citizens Academy
Former Board Member of Breakthrough Schools
Current Director of Enrollment & Engagement
Office: (216) 367-5720

Activities & Resources

Free Summer Meals

Beginning this Monday, June 8 several Detroit Shoreway, Edgewater and Cudell restaurants will distribute FREE, prepackaged meals for individuals of any age, on an 8-week schedule. Meal distributions take place 6 days a week, June 8-Aug. 1, 11am-2pm each day (or until meals run out).


Neighborhood Voices

Cleveland Public Library is gathering stories from the neighborhoods. Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide writing project inviting Clevelanders from every corner of The Land to pen stories, essays, and poems about their neighborhood for inclusion in an anthology that will become part of the Cleveland Public Library's permanent collection. As part of this program, Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library will host free virtual writing workshops throughout the city in June and July, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


Grab and Go Activity Giveaway: ABC Learning, Arts & Crafts, and Games!

Friday, June 12, 2020 / 3pm-5pm
Killingsworth Meeting Place
4127 East 131 St. Cleveland, OH
(Located in the Miles Shopping Plaza)
First 100 kids (Parents must provide Proof of Residency)


United In Code: Learn Coding using Music & Poetry

United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland extends a free summer virtual opportunity for youth from grades 5 to 12. This intensive multi-week workshop uses the process of designing and building games to introduce and educate youth.  Workshop classes are 4 days a week, Monday to Thursday, from 9 to 4 and are constructed on the foundation of STEAM and real-world learning. Youth not only learn Coding but the curriculum also braids team-building exercises, interactive learning development using a virtual application environment, basic design principles, leadership, and marketing/presentation skills. The program begins on June 15th.

Refer Your School!

If you know someone who might want to enroll their child/ren in our schools, please let them know we would love to have them.  We will be here for new scholars as we have space!

Reading Ideas for Fun - eBooks

The Cuyahoga County Library and Cleveland Public Library are now open for drive-through window and curbside service at 13 locations.  Fortunately for all of us both libraries are offering continued access to their digital and streaming services.  You will need a library card to access these materials.  If you do not have a library card you can apply for a library card online here for the Cuyahoga County Library or here for the Cleveland Public Library.

Grades K-2


What Is Given from the Heart

by the late Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison

James Otis and his mama have very little, but they manage to give freely from the heart to a girl and her mother, who lost everything in a fire. With McKissack's signature poetic text, and softly-hued folk-art illustrations, readers are immersed in an African American family and community of support and care. Empathy, the joy in giving, and the importance of faith in recovering from tragedy are among the many positive messages of the book. Mama and James Otis are admirable in their love and strength. James Otis is a devoted son and proves to be thoughtful and kind to others. 

Grades 3-5


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

by Kwame Mbalia

It features characters and concepts from African American folklore and mythology. Storytelling is presented as powerful magic, and after he finds his way into a magical realm, Tristan learns how to use his talent to end a war and save his allies. The level of violence in the mostly magical battles is low, neither scary nor bloody. But there are hordes of metallic stinging insects.

Grades 6-8

book 3

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

by Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down, As Brave as You)

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks is a set of 10 interconnected short stories set in the context of kids walking home from school. It doesn't follow a conventional structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Each story can stand alone; together they add up to a bigger picture. This book, which was named a 2020 Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor Book could be a good match for readers who get impatient with long chapter books, and also for advanced readers who can appreciate the literary qualities. There are potentially distressing descriptions of bullying. A group of kids whose families have lost financial footing due to a parent's cancer form an entrepreneurial "gang" to steal change. One girl is grieving the death of her older sister.

A Message to Scholars

To those who have been through our halls, who are with us today, and who see themselves here in the future. We are so inspired by each and every one of you. #EducationIsUrgent #BreakthroughFamily

Get Involved

If you are interested in getting involved at your school specifically, or with me at the citywide level, let me know. We always welcome parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents interested in volunteering and getting involved in several ways. Email me here or call me at 216-367-5720 and ask for Kareemah. I look forward to hearing from you!