September 16, 2019

SAD 53 teacher gets grant for reading initiative

PITTSFIELD – Carmen Lessard, a special education teacher at Warsaw Middle School in SAD 53, recently received a $3,000 state minigrant from the Maine Support Network, Superintendent Michael Gallagher announced this week.

Lessard’s program is called “Bag-A-Book” and was funded at $1,000 with an option to receive two additional $1,000 grants over the next two years.

In awarding the grant, MSN acknowledged “this school’s initiative in articulating a collaborative vision for the students and families in their school district. Their leadership in building connections between people, tasks and student growth should be applauded.”

The project involves purchasing books for fifth- and sixth-grade pupils who will take home a book at their grade level to read to their parents twice a week. Some students may be allowed to read to an adult, such as a teacher or principal, at school.

The project is intended to reinforce reading skills among the students.

“I know we have books here at school at the [students’] level and there are books at the library at their level, but parents don’t always know what that level is,” Lessard said Monday. “It is just so important to be able to provide the books at an appropriate level.”

Lessard said the parents are just as excited as her pupils are about the project.

“The parents really want to hear them read,” she said.

With access and exposure to their grade levels’ books, the pupils will be able to read more, hence making progress in comprehension, interpretation, evaluation and appreciation of reading.

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