At a brief assembly held on Monday morning for Grades K-2 at Western Coventry Elementary School, a device looking like an old-style phone that is neither high-tech nor computerized still captured the attention of the young audience.
“This is called a Teacher’s Aid and it is going to help you read,” said Audrey LaChance, Secretary of the Coventry Public Education Fund which helped to obtain these aids through a one-page grant.
This was the last assembly for showcasing and distributing 1,000 Teacher’s Aids which are now in all K-2 classrooms of five Coventry public elementary schools. “The Teacher’s Aids were provided for free by a local manufacturer,” Lachance said. “Teachers wrote requests for them at each school and we just wrote up a one-page grant to get approval.”
Made of just two curved pieces of white hollow PVC piping linked together, a
"Phonics Phone" provides instant feedback for a student who speaks into it while reading a book. “It works like a seashell,” said Coventry School Superintendent Michael Convery to the young audience. “You speak into it and you can hear your voice.”
“Very exciting!” said one girl as some students were chosen to help demonstrate how these Teachers’ Aids work.
“This is really for any age,” explained Lachance after the assembly. “It helps someone to pronounce and enunciate words the right way. “It is very helpful for reading fluency. But most students in K-2 are learning how to read and so we thought this would benefit them the most."
"Teachers at Tiogue Elementary School purchased them these years ago out of their own money, but we just gave them some new ones,” Lachance added. “But the speech pathologist, reading specialist and ULSS teacher at Tiogue already had them, too.”
“Even if a child is reluctant to read, they might pick up the Teacher’s Aid and that might encourage them to pick up a book and read it afterwards,” said Lisa James, CPEF Vice-President.
Meanwhile, the CPEF continues to conduct a fundraiser, including selling raffle tickets in two separate Dec. 1 drawings for two courtside seats each at a Boston Celtics game.
“Every dollar we raise we give back,” Lachance said of the all-volunteer foundation. “We are looking for a person who could write grants. Our long-range plan is to create an endowment and raise our board member numbers from 9 to 17. We are trying to get the whole community involved.”
“We are trying to encompass every age group, for academics and for extra-curricular activities,” James said. The CPEF recently donated six backboards, rebounding machine and a basketball ‘shooting gun’ at Coventry High School.
For more information, write to P.O. Box 375, Coventry or click here to visit the their Facebook page.