[EDLING:817] "The Kids Will Pick Up Those Words Like Sponges"

Francis M Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Sun May 15 20:06:46 UTC 2005

> May 13, 2005
> "The Kids Will Pick Up Those Words Like Sponges"
> No Child Left Behind's Early Reading First grant program supports preschools
> and early childhood education providers, especially those who serve children
> from low-income families, so that the children they serve will arrive at
> kindergarten with the foundational skills necessary to become successful
> readers. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Sun
> Current (Richfield, MN) highlighting how children are benefiting from an
> Early Reading First grant:
> "Preschool-age children in Richfield have been attending a camp inside a
> school building. A spider's web, a stuffed squirrel and other touches help
> provide the illusion of a woodsy getaway for young children participating in
> the Early Reading First Project. The project is intended to provide early
> education to children from low-income families or with a limited background
> in English. The initiative is run by the Bloomington/Richfield Family Center
> through a three-year, $3 million federal grant related to the No Child Left
> Behind Act.
> "The project is designed to get children to recognize words and the names of
> common objects through a variety of interactive experiences. The camp
> setting was preceded by an occupational focus in which the young
> participants played the roles of secretaries, doctors and other job
> positions. In doing so, they learned words related to those professions,
> said Kay Miller, coordinator of the Richfield/Bloomington Family Center and
> director of the project.
> "'The kids will pick up those words like sponges,' she said. 'They're doing
> fun, meaningful activities, that are instructional as well.' Several
> stations around a classroom focus on various, everyday events and
> activities. Teachers try to interest the preschoolers in the stations and
> elicit questions about what they see, Miller said.
> "By hearing and seeing words, the children quickly come to associate the
> words with their objects, something that is especially important for
> children learning English, she said. A printing center focuses on the
> letters and written words themselves and encourages children to spell words
> on a wall. 'Everything is focused on reading or literacy' Miller said.
> 'Books are everywhere. There are labels on all the items.'
> "Sixty Bloomington and 30 Richfield 4-year-olds attend sessions at two
> classrooms in Richfield and four in Bloomington weekdays for 6 1/2 hours per
> day. The endeavor began in January and will continue into August in its
> first year in Richfield and Bloomington. The children will begin
> kindergarten in the fall. In the second and third years of the program, both
> 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds will participate with many of those children
> participating for two years.
> "The No Child Left Behind Act provided a grant for the project, one of 30
> nationwide funded this year, in order to determine whether an intense and
> high-quality educational opportunity would help close achievement gaps among
> some disadvantaged segments of students, Miller said."
> The complete text of this article is available online at:
>  <http://www.mnsun.com/story.asp?city=Richfield&story=157435>
> http://www.mnsun.com/story.asp?city=Richfield&story=157435
> NCLB Extra Credit provides a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act,
> President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan
> support in Congress. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of
> Education at (202) 401-1576.

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