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R.E.A.D. donates to middle schoolers

POSTED: November 28, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Joe Hirsch, far right, and Sandy Lipkowitz, second from left, with the Reading Education Association of Dawson County present Riverview Middle School Language Arts teacher Cassie Tallant and Principal Bill Zadernack with a complete class set of VersaTiles, a self-directed learning system designed to build reading skills and help improve test scores.

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Riverview Middle School students will soon have a new component to enhance their reading skills.

On Monday, Joe Hirsch and Sandy Lipkowitz with the Reading Education Association of Dawson County arrived at the school with news Language Arts teacher Cassie Tallant has been waiting to pass on to her students that struggle with reading.

The school is receiving a class set of VersaTiles, a self-directed learning system designed to build reading skills and help improve test scores, thanks to R.E.A.D.

Tallant describes the teaching tool as "hands-on learning" intended to help students identify and correct their own mistakes.

With color-coded and numbered tiles, the system works in conjunction with reading texts by combining the challenge of a puzzle with the practice of a workbook.

Students use an answer case to complete activities, with corresponding tiles used to indicate answers to the activity's multiple choice questions.

Once all questions in the activity are answered, the case is flipped over to reveal a pattern on the backside of the tiles.

"If the pattern is complete, they know they have the right answers. If not, they go back and correct the problem," Tallant said. "The kids love this."

Lipkowitz said working with young readers to help them achieve at or above grade level academics is in line with R.E.A.D.'s overall mission.

"If we can help them reach grade level potential, they have a better chance of graduating in a few years," she said.

The donation from R.E.A.D. will also allow the school to purchase a class set of Rising Reader books, which according to Tallant should also improve reading levels at the school.

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