Early elementary students at Mitchell School have a longer reading list to choose from, thanks to the expansion of the school’s Listening Library this year.
With a $1,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, the school was able to expand not only the number of titles in its collection, but the genre of books so that they will appeal to a broader base of students, said reading intervention teacher Matt Hilton.
The grant was used to enhance the titles at the early elementary level.
“The grant really gave us a chance to order a substantial number of books on CD,” said Hilton, who applied for the grant. “It’s definitely a support to the curriculum. Teachers in (grades) K-2 use it as a station or a center in their classroom.”
Hilton said the Mitchell set up listening stations all classrooms last year with CD players, headphones and a variety of reading titles from which to choose. Students use them as part of their overall reading program. Hilton said listening to the CDs while reading along help students develop fluency in their reading as well as helping with comprehension and vocabulary.
The AAPSEF grant allowed the Mitchell staff to take the program one step further.
As a reading specialist, Hilton’s job is to work with students in small groups who need help with their reading skills. He said once he has gotten students back to grade level reading targets, they return to their classroom for regular lessons. “And when kids do get back, they stay on track,” he said.
Hilton said that the Listening Library is one tool that helps the overall approach to reading at Mitchell in combination with some traditional approaches.
“I think the relationship you build with kids is huge,” he added. “Our job is to scaffold, or structure, reading in such a way that they (students) can be successful in it.”
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