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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 6 years ago

Dillard students learning with Lively Letters

Dillard Street Elementary has started a program that provides imagery and memory cues to students learning to read.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor
Mindi Smith, executive area director of the West Learning Community; Daisy Mitchell; Dillard Street music teacher Kelley Bell; Karen Hausmann; DSES Assistant Principal Carl Sousa; and Pastor Rusty Belcher of First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden.

The First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden has gifted a $2,500 grant to Dillard Street Elementary School to purchase picture cards and other materials for its new Lively Letters reading program. The church and school are about a half of a mile apart, and many Dillard students attend the church.

At the elementary school, 48% of the students are Hispanic and many struggle with basic learning skills such as reading, Partner in Education/ADDitions coordinator Kelley Bell wrote in her letter to the church when requesting the grant.

“The success of our community depends upon the success of our students,” Bell wrote. “We are eager to begin this program.”

One instructor has agreed to train the teachers and volunteers at DSES at no cost, so the only expense for the program is the materials. Each set is $125; the school is buying 20 with the grant money from the church. Teachers can check out the materials from the library.

The basic set of Lively Letters comes with picture cards with individual letters and letter blends, such as “ou” and “sp,” and a story is told about each.

For example, the characters “o” and “u” are a baby and a toddler. When put together, the toddler pulls the baby’s hair, and the baby cries out in pain, “ou.”

The program is designed to teach the sounds of letters, not just the letters themselves.

t — quiet tongue dancing soundWhen the tongue makes this sound, it is tap-dancing behind the teeth. Let’s see if our voices are on or off. It’s a quiet tongue dancing sound. See how he keeps his arms out for balance while he quietly dances?

By the end of the first session, students will be building words and more characters and letters are introduced. The skills learned with these materials are then transferred to manipulative activities using plain letters, then whole words, sentences and books.

d — noisy tongue dancing soundT’s noisy partner is the d, and this time your voice is on when the tongue is tap dancing. See this guy’s large tummy, which he likes to tap on like it’s a noisy drum?

Lively Letters is used as a supplement to the core reading curriculum in prekindergarten through second grade. Creator Nancy Telian discovered the program was effective with slower learners, students learning English as a second language and students with weaknesses in rapid naming, visual processing and phonemic awareness, as well as those diagnosed with dyslexia.


Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].

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