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Grant to help students with reading skills

MOOERS A new program at Mooers Elementary School aims to enrich students through the power of reading. The schools reading specialists, Sara Dupee and Jessica Cordes, are utilizing funding from the North Country Teacher Resource Center to establish Bag-A-Books, a program Cordes had hosted previously with Rouses Point Elementary School. My mother was a first grade teacher at Beekmantown and she actually did the program with her class and it was just a huge success, Cordes said. Parents were really supportive and the kids loved it and she saw huge reading improvement, so we kind of borrowed [the idea]. Students from grades one through three bring home two or three books a night in a Ziploc bag. The books they bring home are not based on their instructional level, but rather on their independent level, Dupee explained. Its things that they are able to read on their own, Dupee added. But, we do encourage parents to read with their children. They have to read with someone ... then the parents sign off. Then, Cordes and Dupee decided to add another element to the program, which Cordes had not done at Rouses Point. Were also adding a writing component, where they pick two of the stories that they had read for the week, and they have to write about it like their favorite part, what they liked about it. We had journals made up for that. The journals were provided by the Champlain Valley Educational Services, so money would not have to be taken from the $750 grant. The program also asks students to bring home at least one of the same book each evening. To practice fluency and become more of a fluent reader, explained Dupee. We encourage parents to ask them questions about what theyve read. The grant paid for the books from which the students may choose. We were able to get lots and lots of books for the one through three classrooms, so they could add to their library, so students would have more of a selection, Dupee said. Each classroom received their own pile of books, which equated to purchasing between 200 and 300 books total. Dupee was able to see the effects of the program personally when her son, Noah, was taught by Cordes at Rouses Point two years ago. Its amazing to see, especially at first grade, said Dupee. Thats where they really start the learning of reading ... it was amazing to watch him, and he just bloomed ... It helped, it really did. He really improved, Dupee continued. Not even just the reading fluency, but the comprehension piece of it as well. The program will continue until the end of the school year, and Dupee and Cordes plan to continue it in the coming years, with the hopes of [fostering] that love for reading at the beginning.

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