IBM employee and CSD parent Gary Thompson, a nearly lifelong resident of Colchester and a graduate of Colchester High School, was instrumental in helping procure the grant from IBM. Through his extensive volunteer service over the last two years with UMS’s emergent reading program in Mary Ann Barnes’s classroom, along with a number of other logistics—including documenting his volunteer hours and completing an application and an online course—he was able to apply for the funds. “I find it very rewarding to see the growth of these children from the beginning of the year to the end of the school year. I have found this to be a great program!” he said.
The grant aligns with IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives, which, according to its website, include addressing “specific societal issues, such as the environment, community economic development, education, health, literacy, language, and culture.”
As previously discussed as part of our CSD Spotlight Primer Series, emergent literacy is extremely important. Because young children are in the process of becoming literate long before they acquire conventional reading skills, emergent literacy—which integrates speaking, listening, reading, writing, and viewing—is essential in early education. And the importance of emergent reading efforts is further underscored because students who enjoy books are more likely to want to read even when it is difficult.
Here is a great video about emergent reading featuring UMS’s Christine Anderson and Judy Flanagan. The video was sponsored by the Hope Foundation and produced by Pure Imagination, Inc. as part of a film initiative highlighting expertise in differentiated instruction—and Union Memorial School was among only a few schools nationwide selected to participate.
“The program gets a lot of support from the teachers and Mr. Antonicci. I see him reading with the kids every day that I go in to read,” Mr. Thompson said. “Reading with children is so important. I am really impressed with the effectiveness of this program.”
Many, many thanks to IBM for their financial support, and many, many thanks to Mr. Thompson and to all of our community volunteers who help to make our emergent reading programs such a phenomenal success!
Keep current with CSD’s news and other education-related information by subscribing to CSD Spotlight. Enter an e-mail address into the field under E-mail Subscriptions in the upper right-hand side of this screen and click “Sign me up!”