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GREF's First Grant Will Fund Listening Stations to "Amp Up" Fluency;
A Key Contributor To Successful Reading Comprehension
Use of tablets, audio in class accelerates creation of good habits that lead to a lifetime of literacy
GLEN ROCK, NJ, February 24, 2014 – Focused on jump-starting fluency in early readers, the Glen Rock Education Foundation has announced the recipient of its first grant. Andrea Mayernik, a first grade teacher at Byrd Elementary School, will receive $2,250 for the purchase of two Dell tablets to set up a "Listen to Reading" station in each of Byrd's first grade classrooms.
Fluency, the ability to recognize words easily, read with greater speed, accuracy, expression and understanding, is a main ingredient in successful reading instruction, according to The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's National Reading Panel. By increasing "listening to reading" time and enabling more students to participate at once, the stations will pave the way for earlier, more successful reading comprehension in the first grade.
"We are so excited to be receiving these new tools," said Mayernik. "Without reading fluency, reading comprehension cannot occur," she said. "Listening to age-appropriate stories that use correct pace, phrasing and expression helps students build their own fluency."
Using the newest technology, the classes will use several free apps and websites for both fiction and nonfiction. Tablet screens provide sharper, livelier graphics, engaging students (including those with learning and attention disorders) and giving them opportunities to choose books of interest, and listen to books with more complexity on a higher reading level.
"Putting this new technology into the Byrd first grade classrooms reflects the district's position on modernization, supporting what was suggested at our January 25 community planning session," said Dr. Paula Valenti, Glen Rock Superintendent of Schools. "The tablets are a turn-key opportunity that lets us jump right in, observe the impact, and weigh the feasibility of extending this preliminary program to the first grades at other Glen Rock schools."
Explaining the decision to fund tablets/first grade literacy as GREF's first grant, Grant and Program Committee Chair Lisa Schor Babin said, "In today's times where technology is an integral part of everyday life, the GREF Board felt that having the tablets in the classroom would enhance the children's use of the newest technology. We also recognized that this program could easily expand to the other first grade classes throughout the district and it offers a distinct value to children who have individualized special education programs as well as to those who don't, but who will be excited and engaged by the clarity of the onscreen images and the choice of books they can listen to."
The $2,250 grant funding covers the purchase of two Dell Venue 11 Pro tablets, cases for the tablets and two tablet keyboards.
As part of their reading instruction, first grade students follow The Daily Five – five autonomous tasks created by renowned education consultants Gail Boushey and Joan Moser – to develop habits that lead to a lifetime of literacy independence. Listening to reading is one of these five activities. The others are reading to self, reading with someone, writing, and word work.
The tablets will be used daily during reading workshop and most likely incorporated into other lessons in different subject areas. Tablet use will also reduce the cost of books (saving space in the classroom) and decrease interruptions that interfere with the flow of teachers' direct instruction with small guided reading groups.
The Glen Rock Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Glen Rock’s commitment to excellence in public education. The GREF raises private funds to support innovative teaching, administrative leadership, professional development, and community participation in the schools.