Children and books

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Local elementary school teachers and Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction for Punxsutawney Area Schools Richard Britten appeared at Thursday’s school board meeting last week to talk about combination locks for elementary lockers and about textbooks.

Britten asked for approval on two separate matters — combination locks for the elementary school lockers, and a new kindergarten through sixth grade textbook selection designed for the 21st century.

Since just about every locker at the Beyer Avenue elementary school is used, said District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Lesniewski, so they will teach students to use the new locks. This will be a positive transition as they move on to higher grade levels.

Britten presented an eight-year contract for the “K-6 ELA (English Language Arts) series into reading” textbook selection.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher of young reader and adult textbooks, technology materials and other things, quoted the price of $230,190, Britten said.

In order to show board members the positive impact the reading program has on students, Punxsutawney Area Elementary School teachers attended the meeting, sharing the successes and excitement of the new trial run.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt takes a balanced literacy approach, incorporating reading resources through both print and digital resources that build strong literacy foundations and support English language learners, the HMH website says. Through various HMH publications, children can practice independent and guided reading time, choosing from a variety of high-quality and popular age-appropriate books.

One of the Punxsutawney teachers said her students enjoyed being able to read and take notes in the same book, just as they would during the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exam.

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There are about 80-90 different books for each grade level, Britten said. Students will be involved in writers’ workshops in each grade level, and practice the five pillars of reading.

“There are a lot of good books kids can take home with them as a part of this program,” Britten said. “It’s a pretty exciting thing.”

He added that he expected the quoted price to be higher, and was pleased with the number.

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