Latino K-2nd Graders Graduate from Successful Innovative Pilot Program Combining Latest Technology and Research-Based Reading Curriculum to Improve Reading Skills And Digital Proficiency
Alliance with Verizon Foundation will target over 400 students and dozens of teachers in its first year across 15 markets
NORCROSS, Ga., July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- LULAC National Education Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) and the Verizon Foundation celebrated the successful launch of an innovative education pilot program called Young Readers & Early Adopters, which aims to improve reading and comprehension for K-2nd grade students in low-income Latino communities. LNESC redesigned its national Young Readers program to take into account new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as to address the need for technology integration in the classroom. Supported by a $250,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, as well as with supplemental support from Procter & Gamble, LNESC redesigned its national Young Readers program to use technology to help improve the reading skills of children and provide teachers with training on how to leverage technology to drive better educational outcomes.
This morning marked the students' graduation from the pilot program during which 15 students dedicated part of their summer vacation to meeting with two certified teachers four days a week. The students displayed quantitatively measured progress in their reading level as well as a better understanding of how to use the latest technology to achieve their educational goals.
"During the school year, it was hard to understand one of my student's ideas," said Anna Smith, co-Young Readers teacher at Beaver Ridge Elementary School. "She struggled with expressing herself on paper. However, through the iPad applications we use in the pilot program her amazing ideas finally came out. The added technology has been a great motivator and outlet for creativity."
Jason Resendez, LNESC director of corporate relations & development, said: "We witness every day the manner in which technology rapidly evolves to create new ways to access information, communicate and learn. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of low-income and underprivileged youth who simply do not have access to the latest technology or the broadband Internet access that it requires to enhance their educational experience. At LNESC, we are confident that the use of technology can improve educational outcomes for underprivileged youth, which is precisely why we are working with the Verizon Foundation to pilot the use of technologies like Apple iPads and smart boards to improve literacy rates for Latino students in Norcross."
During the graduation, students showcased the e-book each created with the help of their families, incorporating pictures, audio clips and text to tell a story about their life outside the classroom. The e-books capture the curriculum's emphasis on improving writing skills through technology.
Julie Smith, vice president of external affairs for Verizon, said, "Technology can have a very positive impact in our community. Verizon is proud to help bring LNESC's program into the 21st century giving students access to the latest tools to further enhance their learning and training teachers to use technology to further engage their students."
The successful pilot program at Beaver Ridge Elementary has served as a launch point for future Young Readers Programs taking place at 15 schools in the fall supported by Procter & Gamble and Target. The Young Readers program will continue at Beaver Ridge for the 2012-2013 school year, and teachers will be provided with additional training on how to integrate technology into their lessons.
LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) was established in 1973 by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to provide educational programming to high-need students throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Throughout 14 education and technology centers, LNESC has served over 500,000 students, sent 150,000 students on to college, and awarded nearly $20 million in scholarships. LNESC's results are made possible by a network of dedicated field staff, top-notch teachers, over 90 school partners, and the support of LULAC - the nation's largest membership based Latino organization. LNESC works to change lives and build Latino communities, one student at a time. More information about LNESC and its programs can be found at www.LNESC.org.
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