Our school in Greenfield, Massachusetts is a Title I elementary school servicing approximately 200 students in grades K-4. Just under 80% of our families are considered low-income, and many of these students' families are homeless or severely housing challenged. We provide free breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack for all of our students during the school year, as well as free breakfast during summer months.
As the school's reading specialist, my small groups are made up of students whose first languages range from Spanish, Russian, Moldovan, Romanian, and Arabic to a number of variations on our English language.
These are all students for whom access to print is difficult, often painful, yet they come into my group each day with a smile on their faces, ready to tackle whatever task awaits. While we have a structured curriculum, these kiddos beg to read the same material as their like-aged peers. Accessing grade-level books and age-appropriate vocabulary is a challenge for these students. I often read popular text aloud, which they absorb like sponges, eyes lit up like stars.
When students listen to me read a popular novel, they are star-struck! When I ask if anyone would like to read a sentence or paragraph aloud, those lights literally go out. The prospect of Kindle e-readers with the audible option would provide both print and voice to my readers. Most importantly, it would open up a world of age-appropriate vocabulary and access to the same material their like-aged peers are reading.
Quite literally, e-readers will be bringing the world to their fingertips and providing them access to any text they want through audible delivery.
E-readers will bring our students into the 21st-century world of learning.
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