Oklahoma City

OKCPS to expand fun, successful reading program district-wide next year – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2022-05-14 09:14:07 –

How did you find your favorite book when you were young? Were they gifts? Did they inherit from your parents or older siblings? Maybe your kindergarten class was lucky enough to have just a few of the choices you could make.

Thanks to a nationally beloved non-profit organization, children in Oklahoma City are given the opportunity not only to find and enjoy the vast number of age-appropriate books, but also to take them home and family. increase.

Bill Fairbanks, a student at Willow Brook Pre-K, reads from books provided by the Raisinga Reader program. (BRETT DICKERSON / Okla City Free Press)

The Raising a Reader program has already been very successful at Oklahoma City Public Schools Willow Brook, Therma Parks and Martin Luther King Elementary School. However, from the 2022-23 school season, this program will be available at all OKCPS schools from Pre-K to 2nd grade.

“This is a really great program,” said Dr. Stephanie Hinton, director of early childhood education in the district. “We create routines and habits at home that facilitate lifelong learning.”

“Continuous connection”

Raising a leader is a simple concept:

  • Each classroom from Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade has 26 bags, each containing 4 or 5 books covering the age group and demographics of those students.
  • Every week, all students can take a bag of books home and enjoy reading with their parents and siblings.
  • The next week, they take the book bag back to school and exchange it for another bag full of another book. Rotation will continue throughout the school year until all students spend a week in all bags.

The idea behind a California-based nonprofit is that the rotation of this book to young students’ homes not only helps to foster love and appreciation for reading outside of school, but also for children. It helps to create a community where each can do it in the meantime. Discuss their favorite books and build bonds.

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Pre-kindergarten students at Willow Brook Elementary School in Charlene Robinson’s classroom are reading a book provided by the Raisinga Reader program. (BRETT DICKERSON / Okla City Free Press)

But most importantly, this program strongly encourages parents to be involved in their child’s education and growth as a reader.

“As educators, we are always thinking about ways to get families involved in the academic process,” said Dr. Hinton. “By increasing our readership, we will be able to provide a continuous connection to literacy development with our families. Sit with our children and read stories with them or with them. Can be very different and very unique. It fosters that relationship and fosters a love of learning and reading. “

Find funds

The first three metro schools with great success in implementing the Raisinga Reader program over the last five years were funded primarily by generous donations. Expansion of the entire district is possible only thanks to the Pandemic Relief Fund.

Dr. Stephanie Hinton, OKCPS (courtesy)

As part of the 2020 National CARES Act, the federal government has set elementary and junior high schools to help schools and districts pay for programs designed to reaffirm and repair the educational environment damaged by COVID. Established the Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

When OKCPS began to consider how to use those funding allocations, it was easy to expand this already proven program that encourages literacy and parental involvement.

“It fits exactly what the district was looking for as long as the ESSER project goes on,” Hinton told me. “Because this is a non-profit organization, we are basically paying for the products they have put together for us and the training of our readers to implement them in our district. Many resources are also available that accompany it. “

Now that budget and budget issues for education continue in our state, even the simplest and simplest of providing takeaway books to young students is virtually without the help of nonprofits. It’s impossible.

“It’s just a bag of books, you know, it’s not the most novel idea,” Hinton says with a laugh. “But we have the infrastructure and support, and we have a curriculum to find out and understand what works for us, our students and our families.”

“Raising future adults”

Hinton is clearly excited about the potential for Raising a Reader to spread throughout the district, but has a deeper and more enthusiastic community centered around early childhood education, especially in terms of reaching more parents. I’ll quickly point out that it’s just a step towards building. And those very important first formation children.

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Principal Richelle Dodoo-Taylor, Willow Brook Elementary School, OKCPS (BRETT DICKERSON / Okla City Free Press)

“There are childcare issues in our country,” she said. “Oklahoma City has a childcare desert, and there are childcare deserts throughout the state. This is an access issue.”

“And I don’t see school as the only answer, but because it’s a way to deal with that childcare problem, many places across the country are now jumping into programs three and four years ago. I have a great belief that childcare should be free and accessible to everyone, just like in public schools. “

Ultimately, Dr. Hinton’s focus is not only on raising the level of education at OKC, but also on the overall picture of children’s educational goals and benchmarks, from purely academic and quantified to more permanent and universal. It’s about helping you reconstruct it into something like that.

That’s why she believes it’s so important for programs like Raising a Reader to bring books to the hands, hearts and minds of children outside of school.

“We are raising future adults,” she said. “The habits we build through reading and creating lifelong learners are always more valuable to me than test scores.”

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Dr. Charlene Robinson and the Pre-Kindergarten class at Willow Brook Elementary School have a Raisinga Reader bookbag and books at the end of the 2021-22 school year. (BRETT DICKERSON / Okla City Free Press)

Last updated: May 14, 2022 8:31 am Brett Dickerson-Editor

OKCPS to expand fun, successful reading program district-wide next year Source link OKCPS to expand fun, successful reading program district-wide next year

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