Reading to function in society Activities: Maiden Choice School for severely disabled students has begun a program that emphasizes words used in everyday life.

September 06, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Principal Edmund Bennett knows that his students at Maiden Choice School aren't likely to be able to read on their own by age 9.

But last week, the Arbutus school -- one of three in Baltimore County for severely disabled students -- launched a "Reading by 9" effort for its 115 children, to promote reading activities.

They might not be able to meet the superintendent's goal of reading on grade level by the end of second grade, Bennett said, but "we can have every one of them doing a reading activity in school by 9 a.m. and a reading activity at home by 9 p.m."

The program emphasizes the educational goals of Maiden Choice, particularly the functional literacy that its students -- ages 3 to 21 -- will need as adults, said Assistant Principal Sharon Kraus.

For example, activities are designed to help children learn to read signs and remember their home addresses and telephone numbers, said Marylane Soeffing, library media specialist and literary resource teacher. "We work on functional words like push, pull, in, out, men, women, open and closed," Soeffing said.

Area businesses have donated coupons and other incentives to encourage reading at school and at home.

Reading activities aren't limited to those students need to function in society. Teachers added story time activities, and parents will be asked to read fun stories with their children at home.

At the kickoff, teachers demonstrated the benefits of reading with students by telling the story of "Five Little Monkeys 'N Jumping on the Bed" to younger children and helping older students craft short stories on computers.

"Our children don't respond perhaps the way that others with disabilities do," Kraus said. "But our children benefit like others. We need to read with all children."

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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