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Education department receives $20k grant to promote PreK and elementary literacy

ISSUED: 8 September 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Department of Education has received a $20,333 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Early Learning to provide training that will promote literacy for students in PreK and elementary classrooms. The program, titled “Candidate/Teacher Literacy Collaborative for Improving Letter/Sound Recognition Instruction,” will focus on providing this training to Berkeley and Jefferson County school teachers and education majors from Shepherd placed in their classrooms for practicum experiences.

“The relationship between area teachers who host our students for practicum experiences is vitally important to our education programs,” said Dr. LeAnn Johnson, assistant professor of education. “We are excited that this grant will further strengthen our relationship with them and provide value to the teachers who work so hard to teach area children while mentoring and coaching our students’ development to become teachers.”

Johnson said the grant will support workshops this fall and spring featuring Katie Garner, creator of SECRET STORIES®, which infuses neuroscience into literacy. Garner is an internationally-known educational speaker, author, and literacy consultant with 25 years of classroom experience. The workshops will introduce both teacher candidates and classroom teachers to a variety of brain-based, multi-modal teaching tools for transforming the reading and writing abilities of elementary school students.

After each workshop, the education majors and teachers will work together to create lessons that incorporate instructional strategies and content from the workshops. University supervisors will observe and evaluate a cross section of these lessons. Post-observation conferences will take place that focus on analysis of student learning data that demonstrates the effectiveness of the lessons. The program aims to give the teachers and education majors the knowledge and skills needed to deliver effective instruction that will improve the phonics skills of elementary students in both reading and writing.

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