Back-to-School Tips

Welcome Back-to-School from CLI!

As the summer comes to a close, students, parents, and teachers are gearing up for a brand new school year; and some have already started. A new school year can be a time of great excitement and even some anxiety. With this in mind, we have put together some tips for parents and teachers to lay the groundwork for the exciting year ahead.


Staying Connected

During the first few weeks of the new school year, many schools host a Back to School Night so families can meet their children’s teachers and other parents. If you are able to attend your school's back to school night, this is an opportunity to come with your wonderings about the year, what you are hoping to learn, and how you and your child's teacher can partner for their success. If you don't have an opportunity at the event to find out everything you were hoping to learn, try and find opportunities to connect and talk with your child's teacher to set mutual intentions for the year.

For many families, however, the next point of contact with your child’s teacher may not be until the parent-teacher conferences. If you’re eager to stay informed and engaged in your child’s education over the next few weeks, here are some fresh ideas to get started.

Go Ahead and Reach Out

At Back to School Night, you may have learned your teacher’s preferred method of communication, whether it’s a phone call, email, or quick chat during pick-up. Never hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher with questions about the homework, anything that happened at school that day, or what you can being doing at home to support your child’s learning.

Children Love A Guest Star

If you have a skill you want to share that you think could impact your child’s classroom, get in touch with your teacher to see how you can help. Many parents come in to read a book out loud, lead a music lesson or sing-along, or talk about their job or role in the community.

Create A Community of Parents

Connect with the other parents in your child’s class. You may have met some of them at Back to School Night or other school functions. If you don’t have time to come into your child’s class, building a support network of parents outside the school is a great way to be in the loop about classroom activities and school life.



Back-to-School Apps for Teachers

September is here and teachers everywhere are busy preparing for the school year ahead. If you are one of the growing number of teachers who uses a smartphone or tablet in the classroom, you may be searching for some useful apps to help communicate with families, conduct assessments, or allow your students to practice literacy skills. 

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite free apps for educators, so all you have to do is hit download and get teaching! Happy Back to School, everyone!


Parents want to celebrate their kids’ achievements every step of the way, so it’s important to keep them in the loop on their kids’ progress throughout the school year. With Seesaw, a student portfolio app, kids can store and post their best work to share with their parents.



Remind makes it easy for teachers to communicate with students and their parents in real time outside of the classroom. You can make class announcements, initiate group chats, or contact people privately through the app.


Phonics Genius

Phonics Genius is geared towards early elementary students and helps them learn letter sounds and blends. Unlike most other phonics apps, Phonics Genius goes beyond the most basic letter sounds to teach fluency.


Fry Words

This flashcard app includes 1,000 Fry Words – the most common high frequency words in the English language. We like it because you can customize the cards by recording your own voice, deleting cards, and tailoring the level of difficulty to your classroom’s needs. Best of all, it’s iPad compatible, so your youngest students will have no trouble using it in large format.



Back-to-School Reading List

Whether you’re looking to calm your class’s first day jitters or celebrate the act of reading, all of the excellent picture books below are perfect for reading aloud.

Are you interested in receiving more insights like this?

Ensure you stay up-to-date with us. Sharing insights on all things literacy, from highlights of CLI’s work and impact in communities nationwide to the latest research in literacy instruction, helpful practices for implementation, and book titles to expand your classroom and at-home libraries.