COVINGTON — Thanks to the generosity of others, Covington first graders in Kelly Gessner’s class received new learning tools to help their reading and math skills. Gessner’s class received a grant from the Miami County Foundation for approximately $2,000 for a new listening center, along with the MAC Grant from McDonald’s for approximately $150 for a pre-made math center.
The listening center is composed of a CD/cassette player with six headphones and a jack to use all six headphones at once. It also came with 20 sets of books with CDs. There are six books included in each set. The children are able to listen to someone read the books while they follow along.
“We use them four days a week … when we do our reading rotation,” Gessner said. “They love to use it.”
Gessner has had the listening center for about a month and has seen it become a positive tool for students.
“A lot of the kids that don’t have anybody reading them stories at home … it’s good for them being able to listen to a story,” Gessner said. “They really seem to like it.”
“I love it,” said 7-year-0ld Eli Brooks, whose favorite book so far is “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” by Laura Numeroff. “This girl gives a pig a pancake and then … the pig wants syrup with it, and then she gets all sicky, so then she wants a bath,” Brooks said.
“I love it, too,” Zoe Holfinger, 6, agreed about the listening center. Holfinger’s favorite book that she has listened to so far is “Skippyjon Jones” by Judith Schachner. “This cat jumps out of this cannon,” Holfinger said.
The students also complete work afterward using the listening station to help them remember and think about the story they just read.
“We write a paper,” Holfinger explained. “And we have to write the title, and then it says ‘what is your favorite part?’ and we write our favorite part. And we also write why.”
“They have to do a reading response afterward,” Gessner said. “For first graders, that’s about all they can handle; they can tell what their favorite part was and why and draw a picture.”
Gessner’s class also embraced the listening center during the holiday season.
“For the whole month of December, they’ve been listening to Christmas stories,” Gessner said.
Gessner has also found ways to expand the children’s use of the listening center, including investing some of her personal time.
“They’re listening to me read the book to them,” Gessner said about some of the books that she has added to their collection. One of the stories that Gessner recorded herself reading for her students was a short chapter book that ended up being over 13 minutes long.
“I do spend some extra time, but it’s worth it. I love reading anyways,” Gessner said, adding, “My two boys at home, they laugh at me when they hear me taping a story.”
As for the pre-made math centers, Gessner will be using those with her students when they come back from Christmas break. The math centers include sets of pre-made learning activities, games, and ideas for young children to grow their math skills.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall