MICHELLE T. BERNARD
Perhaps the most urgent challenge that teachers face today is making sure that all children become competent readers. Those that have problems reading quickly fall behind and sometimes budget cuts or the perceived stigma of being in a special class makes getting the extra help that they need difficult. There’s no question that Lincoln County teachers spend a lot of time reading to their students and working on their fluency. There are also many people and organizations throughout the county that visit area schools to read to students as well.
Today’s children are growing up in a digital age and teachers at Battleground Elementary and Kiser Intermediate have made use the Tandberg video conferencing system that they already have in place to offer a beneficial reading experience for both schools.
“Here at Kiser, we have used the system with our fifth graders to talk to NASA and the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh,” Kiser teacher and librarian Amanda Swengros said. “We also have used it to do battle practices with Iron Station to help our Battle of the Books team prepare for competition.”
For the past couple of months, Kiser Intermediate students have been taking the time to read to Battleground Elementary students via this video conferencing system. It is an interactive experience because not only can the students who are being read to see the Kiser students at their library but the Kiser students can also see the Battleground students.
“They love it,” Battleground teacher Jennifer Reep said. “They like seeing the older kids and working with another school. The Kiser students get to gain reading fluency at the same time.”
In addition to helping with reading, this type of interaction helps build peer-to-peer relationships and helps the students learn that they are a bigger part of the community, according to Battleground media coordinator Anita Stewart. Even though the students are not at the same school, they see each other on the bus.
“Also with our Common Core goals, each student has reading and listening skills to develop,” she said.
On Wednesday, Kiser Intermediate students Jaida Thomas and Maddie White were the designated readers during a video reading conference with Battleground Elementary students.
“I love reading to little kids and watching them have fun and be entertained,” Thomas said. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up.
White said she enjoys making a kid’s day and making them laugh. She wants to be either a beautician or a pediatric oncologist.