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Rio Hondo students receive gift of literacy

December 18, 2018

HARLINGEN — They’ve been given a special gift.

That gift, wrapped inside new Kindle Fire 7s, is the power of literacy, and each student in grades K – 8 at Rio Hondo Independent School District is getting one.

“This is our huge reading initiative that we have going on in our district this year,” said Raul Trevino, assistant superintendent of academics.

“We’re doing it to address our low reading scores,” he said. “We want to turn students on to reading and make them fall in love with reading. Knowing that we’re dealing with 21st century learners, we wanted to give them the opportunity to read from a tablet.”

While having a Kindle Fire is good, by itself it has no use. But Rio Hondo ISD is using it as a powerful tool “We have them programmed to where they can only access two things,” Trevino said. “One of them is the Accelerated Reader. When they are at school they’ll be able to test relatively easily right off of their tablet without having to wait for library time for a computer that’s available.”

The Kindles will be shut off at 4 p.m. so they’ll only test during school hours. The other program loaded onto the Kindles will be MyON, which will enable children to read books at their reading level.

“This program provides the students with over 6,000 enhanced books,” Trevino said. “When I say enhanced it means the books actually come alive on screen. It’s full color, the words can be read to the students. The words are highlighted as they are being read.”

Trevino specified the program can actually read the books to the students and the pace at which they are read can be manipulated to move slower or faster. Before the students even begin reading these books on their Kindles, students take a reading inventory to determine their interests and reading level.

“Once it knows what their high interests are in reading and has their reading level, it automatically creates a personalized library filled with book selections that are on their reading level,” Trevino said.

“It’s paired with their interests, so they’ll always be reading something of their high interest and reading level.”

twhitehead@valleystar.com

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