Editor's Note: The following release is from the Medfield Coalition for Public Education, concerning a new program at Blake Middle School.
Many of us have read The
Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, Chicken Little and Big Dog
Little Dog, but few of us have read these books in Spanish. Well, that is changing for the students at
Blake Middle School.
This past June, seventh grade Spanish teacher Maura Batts applied for a grant from the Medfield Coalition for Public Education (MCPE) to create a reading corner for her seventh grade students so they could read more in Spanish. In her proposal, Batts identified books the students would have read or heard as young children, however, her vision was to have them reading them in Spanish.
“Reading in Spanish is one of the four major skills that we hope to practice and develop in class,” says Batts. “However, it is the one skill that we sometimes push aside so that we can work on speaking, writing and listening. This reading corner will encourage and allow for more student reading.”
The MCPE approved the grant in June and over the summer Batts used the funds to purchase a rolling cart and more than 30 books. She also donated a few of her own books to the cart.
When school started in September, the cart was up and running as planned.
“The book cart is used throughout the week,” says Batts. “When the students arrive in class they can take a book and read for a few minutes, or if they finish an assessment early, that is another opportunity to visit the cart. During the week there will be designated reading times where each student takes a book from the cart and reads.” Eventually Batts will give the students incentives for filling out a reading log and for adding to the “Book Review Bulletin Board”.
“It’s been very successful to date. The students really seem to enjoy and have a sense of accomplishment when they read these familiar stories in Spanish. I envision the idea could spread to the other grade levels and to other foreign languages.”
The Spanish reading corner was the first approved grant of the new school year. The hope is to support many new initiatives across the district on the heels of the successful 25th anniversary fundraising year. The MCPE is an independent, non-profit organization funded to provide system-wide support and academic enrichment for the Medfield Public Schools, with particular attention to academic needs that exceed the parameters of the school budget. The MCPE strives to encourage and maintain academic excellence in the face of increasing financial constraints. The MCPE awards grants to support the development of innovative programs, curriculum and enrichment. Awards favor projects that meet student needs and increase motivation to learn, as well as stimulate creativity in the classroom. All staff, teachers, administrators and counselors are eligible to apply for a grant, as long as a direct impact upon students can be demonstrated.