Marlington receives a Literacy Scholarship from the Ohio Department of Education

Lexington elementary teacher Mary Beth Del Calzo demonstrates the sounds made by different letters as part of a literacy lesson with her kindergarten students.  Marlington Local is one of only 25 school districts in Ohio to receive a $200,000 state grant aimed at helping schools improve how they teach literacy.

Lexington TWP. Lexington elementary teacher Mary Beth Del Calzo calmed the wobbly preschoolers sitting on the floor in front of her so they could hear the sounds of the words she was about to say.

“Which word rhymes with cat?” I started. “Listen to your choices: mat or doormat.”

The children shouted in unison: “He died!”

Students navigated a series of rhyming words, then began dissecting the words into individual sounds.

They swung their hands in a slashing motion as they separated the “noh” sound from the “oozy” in the word nasal.

They slammed their fists into the sky to emphasize the “da” sound at the end of the words they were made and uttered.

They smashed their hands together like a sandwich to combine the sounds “ha” and “eye” and make the word hello.

“Did you guys practice?” DelCalzo asked 17 kindergartners when they had finished their word sandwiches. “You must have trained because I can’t believe it.”

Lexington elementary teacher Mary Beth Del Calzo demonstrates the sounds made by different letters as part of a literacy lesson with her kindergarten students.  Marlington Local is one of only 25 school districts in Ohio to receive a $200,000 state grant aimed at helping schools improve how they teach literacy.

This wasn’t the way the 40-year-old teacher was teaching reading concepts at Lexington Elementary just a few years ago.

Marlington has spent the past three years trying to improve how students are taught to read and write. District leaders introduced reading programs, such as Haggerty and Fundations, to help teachers better guide students in learning the individual sounds of words (phonological awareness) and how to write those sounds (phonics). Research has shown that these types of skills help students learn to read.

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