A Story of … A Passion Reading and Writing

Rich Boschetti, DPIE Academy Director
February 5, 2021

Like many elementary teachers, Angelina Jennaro and Jennifer Moirao from Amador Elementary and Stacy Alvarez from Kolb Elementary, have a passion for reading and writing.  That passion for language arts is why all three of them are once again offering reading and writing classes as part of the DPIE After School Program this year.

This spring, Ms. Jennaro and Ms. Alvarez, both 2nd grade teachers, are teaching a reading classes for students.  Ms. Jennaro is teaching “Hooked On Books” Club class to students in grades 3 – 5, while Ms. Alvarez is offering her popular course, Become a Better Reader, The Cover to Cover Book Club for Primary Students,” in grades 1 – 2.

Ms. Alvarez and Ms. Moirao are also teaching writing courses during the spring session.  Ms. Moirao who teaches 3rd grade will continue with one of her “Writing Through the Genres” courses entitled “Writing With An Impact” for students in grades 3 – 5 and Ms. Alvarez will continue with her “Become a Better Writer” series entitled, “The Elements of Opinion Writing,” for students in grades 1 – 2.

A Shared Love of Reading

Ms Angelina Jennaro

When asked why she loves teaching reading classes Ms. Jennaro responded with enthusiasm.  “I love to read!  Reading is special and fun because when you get emersed in a book it can take you anywhere in the world and you feel like you are in a whole new place. I just love it when I find a page turner that I just can’t put down and can’t wait to get back to my adventure.

But a big secret of mine is that I remember being terrified of reading when I was in front of a class and had to read in front of my classmates.  I was afraid of mis-pronouncing words, reading too slow or embarrassing myself.  As a result, I wouldn’t practice at home or ask for help when I needed it and school became really challenging for me. But as time went on, I found some books that I really enjoyed and those stories helped me grow as a reader and my teachers were able to help me and cheer me along.  So, I try to provide my students with a safe environment where I can be their cheerleader and help them discover their own passion for reading,” explained Ms. Jennaro.

“A good book can make you feel part of the adventure”

Ms. Alvarez also loves to read when she can find time.  With three small boys in her home finding time to read is usually after everyone has gone to bed for the night. “Reading is a lot of fun.  I love becoming engrossed in a book and then getting lost in the characters and the adventures they are having without ever having to step out my front door. One of the best parts of reading a book is that you feel like you become part of the story, you experience the same emotions as the characters.  When that happens, you feel like you are in the story and part of the adventure that you are reading about and you can play that story back in your mind over and over again.” explained Ms. Alvarez

Both teachers agree that one of the advantages of the book club model is that kids can take notes in their books or underline important words because its their own copy which they can’t do with a schoolbook. Asked to define a successful reader, both teachers agreed that each reader is different, just like characters in a book, each student has different experiences, think differently, have experienced different challenges in their lives, have different dreams. But they agreed that to be a successful reader, it should be fun, exciting and gives them a little peace of mind.

Effective Writing Enhances Communication Skills

Ms Stacy Alvarez

Both Ms. Alvarez and Ms. Moirao, who have both been teaching for about a dozen years, agree that writing is an essential skill that students need to master.  “Being able to write well and effectively will help students communicate ideas for the rest of their livesI want all students to feel confident and build their writing skills.  In my writing class, students will create their own informational and “how to” books. They will learn how to write interesting introductions and conclusions to really hook and entertain their reader. As young writers, I want to make sure to give my students as much immediate feedback as possible, so that it helps students develop their skills.  I want students to have fun and enjoy themselves in my class, because happy students are engaged with the lessons and will be excited to learn!    I want to teach different writing courses through DPIE to help as many students as I can,” concluded Ms. Alvarez.


Writing is Fundamental

One of the best things about offering courses in the DPIE program is that I get to meet kids outside of my own classroom who are part of the Dublin community.  I chose to teach writing because it is a fundamental way to express your ideas, your thoughts and to effectively communicate and share your personality with others.

Writing was hard for me when I was growing up.  The hardest part was generating the ideas I wanted to share with others. My goal is to help students know and share their passions.

In my regular classroom, we focus on three parts of writing; narrative (story telling), information (non-fiction) and persuasive (opinion) and we emphasize structure.  In the DPIE program, I can focus on creativity and voices with my students.  Each session and every year, I change the assignments and activities.  Not only does it make it fun for the writers, but it gives me a challenge of finding new ways to engage my students.” said Ms. Moirao.

Ms Jennifer Moira

I want my students to have an understanding of the power of writing, to use the proper forms of grammar, proper nouns, capitalization and more importantly, how to develop their voice. My hope is that students will ask themselves “who are my readers and how can I write to best convey my message.

As a lifelong learner myself, I look at each class that I teach as the opportunity to improve on, what I did before and to improve my skills as an educator as well.  I hope this comes through in my teaching in every class I teach,”
concluded Ms. Moirao.

When asked if there was anything she wanted Dublin families to know about her after school classes, Ms. Moirao said, “I want parents to understand that the best way to help their student improve their writing is for them to write.  I know it sounds like a cliche but getting students to write their ideas down on paper will help them become better writers.” 

For more information on our reading and writing courses we are offering this spring, click here.