Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory Academy

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Katherine DeVinna » Katherine DeVinna

Katherine DeVinna

Katherine DeVinna has been a member of the leadership team since June 2017.  She began her career in 1998 as a Social Science teacher and soccer coach in the Long Beach USD.  Her administrative experience began in 2009 and she has served as a Director of Instruction, a high school Principal, and the Chief Operations Officer of a large charter schools’ system.  Katherine is a firm believer in the OMI mission and a cheerleader for cadets.  Currently, in her role at OMI’s Director of Academic Performance, she supports cadet achievement through instructional coaching, oversight of the College and Career Center, data and assessment, and the dual enrollment program. 


If you would like to email me for ways to help your children at home, please email me.  I'm here to help. Subscribe to my page for monthly updates on tips relating to supporting your children excelling at school. 

One of OMI's newer initiatives is Every Teacher is Teacher of Reading.  The goal of this initiative is to focus all teachers on strategies that work for all subjects that emphasize the skills readers need to develop and use to improve their reading and retention of material.   Essential to this initiative is the support of parents.  Teaching reading is a complex process but it can be supported and developed by parents doing simple things to support children's growth.  Below are 11 tips for what parents can do to support your children.

Here are some practical recommendations for helping students of all ages learn to read.

1. Teaching reading will only help.

Read with your children and have them tell you the story back to you. Encourage them to ask questions about what you're reading.  Set a family rule when everyone reads 15 minutes a day. 

2. Teaching literacy isn’t different than teaching other skills.

It's repetition and positivity.  Just like when your children were small and you had to teach them everything. Patient, positive reinforcement and repetition. 

3. Talk to your kids (a lot).

Ask them about what they are reading.  Have them teach you the new words they learn in class.  Learn new words with them.  Don't stop at how was school today?  Don't stop at do you have any homework?  Ask them to tell you details.  YOu don't need to know how to do thier homework but you can ask them to walk you through what they are doing and have them teach you. 

4. Read to your kids.

I know everyone says this, but it really is a good idea  One of my colleagues refers to this advice as the “chicken soup” of reading education. We prescribe it for everything. (Does it help? It couldn’t hurt.) If a parent or caregiver can’t read or can’t read English, there are alternatives, such as using audiobooks; but for those who can, reading a book or story to a child is a great, easy way to advance literacy skills. Research shows benefits for kids as young as 9-months-old, and it could be effective even earlier than that. Reading to kids exposes them to richer vocabulary than they usually hear from the adults who speak to them, and can have positive impacts on their language, intelligence, and later literacy achievement. What should you read to them? 

5. Have them tell you a “story.”

Make up a story together.  Make it a fun way to spend time together. Do it in the car as a family.  It might feel odd at first but try it and your child will improve their reading. 



6. Listen to your child read.

Have your read to you. If it doesn’t sound good (mistakes, choppy reading), have her read it again. Or read it to her, and then have her try to read it herself. Studies show that this kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it is done at home. Try one paragraph at a time and then summarize what what just read and what it means and what the important ideas are. 

7. Promote writing.

Literacy involves reading and writing. Having books and magazines available for your child is a good idea, but it’s also helpful to have pencils, crayons, markers, and paper. Encourage your child to write. One way to do this is to write notes or short letters to her. It won’t be long before she is trying to write back to you. Ask them to write a weekly letter summarizing their learning for the week or a letter to a family member or pen pal. 

8. Ask questions.

When your child reads, get her to retell the story or information. If it’s a story, ask who it was about and what happened. If it’s an informational text, have your child explain what it was about and how it worked, or what its parts were. Reading involves not just sounding out words, but thinking about and remembering ideas and events. Improving reading comprehension skills early will prepare her for subsequent success in more difficult texts.

9. Make reading a regular activity in your home.

Make reading a part of your daily life, and kids will learn to love it. When I was nine years old, my mom made me stay in for a half-hour after lunch to read. She took me to the library to get books to kick off this new part of my life. It made me a lifelong reader. Set aside some time when everyone turns off the TV and the web and does nothing but read. Make it fun, too. When my children finished reading a book that had been made into a film, we’d make popcorn and watch the movie together. The point is to make reading a regular enjoyable part of your family routine.

Happy reading!


Ritchie, S.J., & Bates, T.C. (2013). Enduring links from childhood mathematics and reading achievement to adult socioeconomic status. Psychological Science, 24, 1301-1308.

Karass J., & Braungart-Rieker J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant reading on early language acquisition. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.