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LeapFrog donates 50 books to Winn kindergarten class

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Students expected to benefit from electronic learning tool

By Kristin Beck

Good work, good deeds, good people and, in this case, good teachers, ultimately are recognized and rewarded.

Alice England, a kindergarten teacher at Kathryn Winn Primary, recently received 50 LeapFrog reading books through LeapFrog’s new “Like. Give. Read." program. LeapFrog asked Facebook fans to nominate their kindergarten teachers for their hard work and dedication to teaching young children to learn to read. The names were included in a random drawing for up to 1,000 classrooms to receive the books.

Winn parent Staci Fultz purchased a LeapFrog system for her daughter, Kathryn, this past Christmas, so she received an e-mail about the new program. Kathryn had just recently transferred to Winn about a week or two before. Fultz said the books range from about $14.99 to $19.99 each.

Fultz said her daughter loves England and looks forward to going to school every day. “(Mrs. England is) so caring, so loving and down to earth with them,” she said. “She makes learning fun, and Kathryn loves her. She’s so fun with the kids and treats them like her own kids.”

England said she had never used the LeapFrog books before, but her students have brought them in for show and tell. Since receiving the books, she has done research on them and is excited about the learning opportunities they provide.

England received five each of 10 different story books, including stories on Disney characters such as Dora the Explorer and Cars and Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat.” She said phonics and sight word books are also available, and she will be looking into purchasing additional books for her classroom. “The more I have learned about these books, the more I can see the educational use of them and the more I can look for them.”

While not required to use all of LeapFrog’s books, England said tag reading pens enhance the use of the books because students can touch a word and it will read it aloud for them. It will also ask the students questions about what they are reading and unlock additional activities they can use.

England said she has submitted a proposal with DonorsChoose.org to receive money to pay for six of the Tag Reading systems, valued at $49.99 each at Best Buy. DonorsChoose.org is an online charity where public school teachers across the country can post classroom project requests. Visitors to the site can browse through the projects and give any amount they wish. Once a project is funded, the site will deliver the materials to the school.

Donors will receive photos of the project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. Donors giving more than $100 will receive hand-written thank you letters from the students.

“(The LeapFrog books) will give the kids something new to read,” England said, “and once I have the pens, it will give them some independence. I can use them a table at a time (and they can) sit and use them as an activity. There’s lots of different ways they can be used.”

If you would like to donate money to England’s class, visit DonorsChoose.org and search for Kathryn Winn Primary.