Technology aids literacy: Valley View students benefit from grant
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Oct 03, 2012 | 1914 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Valley View Elementary School
VALLEY VIEW STUDENT Carley Horning practices recognizing letters using an iPad. Through a literacy grant from Dollar General, her teacher Shelley Cameron purchased four ipads for the class. Banner Photos, JOYANNA WEBER
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The generosity of strangers has provided Valley View Elementary School students in Shelley Cameron’s class new ways to build reading skills using technology.

Through a $2,000 youth literacy grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Cameron was able to purchase four iPads for her classroom.

“With the grant ... I was able to get four iPads, the covers and I had enough to get a $100 gift card for apps,” Cameron said.

She explained she found out about the opportunity from her mother. A friend knew Cameron had applied for other grants in the past, and suggested she apply for this one. That night Cameron filled out the online grant application.

Cameron said she had been looking for ways to incorporate more technology into the classroom.

“Part of the Dollar General grant was talking about the things you can get and one of the things was technology. [I thought] if I can interact technology and reading I’ll hit it,” Cameron said.

The new tools were purchased about a month ago and were immediately put to use.

The educator said the tablet computers have many interactive games that help her students learn letters and sounds.

“There are different apps that we have that are great for kindergarten, like sound sorting. They love this game,” Cameron said.

0ther games allow students to record and play back to themselves reading and practice making words.

“I’m amazed how many kids already know their letters in here, and I’m sure that (using the iPads) plays a part in it,” Cameron said.

She said the tablet computers get students excited about learning because it is something that many of them have not had the chance to use.

The teacher also uses the iPads as a reward, allowing students who are well behaved to play on them.

Money for the Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant comes from donations made at the Dollar General stores. Each time a customer says “yes” to giving their loose change or donating a dollar to literacy, the money is given to the foundation.

According to a foundation press release, more than $2 million in grants were awarded to schools and nonprofits focusing on literacy in August.

“We award the grants at the start of the school year so that the funds are in place to have an impact on reading education and support,” according to Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “Reading is an essential building block to a bright future. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to award the Youth Literacy grants to help provide schools and nonprofit organizations with resources that support their efforts to strengthen literacy skills and education.”