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To help students struggling with vocabulary and comprehension, two of Rossford's elementary schools were recently awarded $80,000 in OhioReads grants.
Indian Hills and Eagle Point elementary schools will each receive $20,000 a year for two years in OhioReads Adolescent Literacy Grants aimed at helping students in grades four through six.
Gov. Bob Taft started the statewide OhioReads tutoring program for school children in his first term. The program brings volunteers into the classroom to serve as tutors to improve reading skills for students reading below grade level.
Superintendent Luci Gernot said the one-on-one attention the children receive while reading is helpful, and the grants will provide those opportunities.
"The intent is to enhance reading and give kids a chance to practice their reading skills," she said.
Grant money will pay for tutors' training materials, staff development, and new books at both schools, Ms. Gernot said. "It's going to be used for supplies and to enhance the program," she said.
Eagle Point Principal Deb Serdar said the grant will be used in her building to extend tutoring programs offered for younger students to older elementary school students.
She said tutoring sessions for children in grades kindergarten through fourth at Eagle Point are 20 minutes long and held during the school day. Students who need it the most are tutored every day, while other students could be tutored twice a week.
What's different about Eagle Point's tutoring program is that students practice reading what they're reading in the classroom, so each day's lesson is reinforced, Ms. Serdar said, adding that about 10 students per grade level are struggling with reading below their grade levels.
She said she hopes to use some grant money at Eagle Point to train high school students to become volunteers to tutor their younger peers, and will use some funding for staff development.
"The areas we've focused on in the past is comprehensive skills and making sure our teachers are instructing the best possible way we can in the classroom," Ms. Serdar said. "For our adolescent readers, the area we need to focus on is reading in the content areas."
Ms. Serdar said she plans to continue the program at the school even after all the grant money has been used because the money will pay for the materials that the volunteer tutors use.
Indian Hills Principal Holly Schmidbauer could not be reached for comment regarding how her building will specifically use grant funds.
Rossford Communications Liaison Diana Hersch said she was told by an OhioReads representative that given statistics in the past, both schools' chances at winning were slim because the competition was stiff.