$19,500 donation to Marietta City Schools Literacy Program

Jessica Smith, a first grade teacher, with students at Putnam Elementary.

Last month, the Friends of the Washington County Public Library, an agency fund at the Marietta Community Foundation, approved a request for $19,500 to expand resources at different levels in the literacy initiatives program in Marietta City Schools’ elementary schools.

The donation will be used to purchase additional items for the leveled libraries at each elementary school. Jona Hall, Ed. D, Director of Curriculum and Technology at Marietta City Schools, explained that the school district adopted the Scholastic leveled libraries for instructing reading this year. “The method use is called ‘Guided Reading,'” said Hall. “Guided reading allows for teachers to focus their attention on small groups so that differentiated learning can take place as opposed to whole group instruction that often delivers the lesson to students in the middle; the so called “average” student.”

Leveled libraries offer a variety of high interested leveled reading materials that cover a larger range of reading abilities, making it easier for teachers to instruct at each learning level. As students grow in their reading, they can move into other groups fluidly.

“The approved funding from the Friends of the Washington County Public Library will allow us to add additional titles to our growing libraries,” said Hall. “What we have found is that some levels within the library are used more frequently than others because they may be used by multiple grade levels. So, we have taken a look at the most frequently used levels and added to them at each school.”

Hall believes reading is an essential skill for survival. Children need to establish a strong foundation with reading, decoding, comprehension, and writing in order to be successful citizen. By using guided reading, teachers can differentiate their instruction that will allow them to offer supports for those in need, while also pushing those that are ready for acceleration.

“I compare it to the building of a house,” said Hall. “Without a solid foundation there is truly no need to worry about decorating and furniture. You have to put the priority where it is needed most. Investing in reading and literacy is an investment in our future and our future citizens.”

The faculty and staff at Marietta City Schools are grateful for the generosity of the Friends of the Library. Hall said they look forward to inviting them into our classrooms and allowing them to experience the rich instruction that is occurring for all of our students.

“With their donation, we can ensure that reading instruction will continue to offer high interest content for all levels,” said Hall.

The Friends of the Library are engaged in assisting the Washington County Public Library in their efforts to encourage reading at all levels in the community. To this end, the Friends of the Library fund the Summer Reading Programs for children, teens, and most recently, adults.

“We also fund a reading program for learning impaired adults,” said Sharon Gegner, Treasurer of the Friends of the Library. “It is within our scope and pleasure to assist the Marietta schools in their new reading program at the Elementary Schools.”

The generosity and support of donors for important causes like literacy truly changes lives and keeps our area strong. To make a difference and fight for the initiative that inspires you, contact Heather Allender, CEO of The Marietta Community Foundation at 740-373-3286 or heather@mcfohio.org.

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