Readers in two Nance classes win ‘Million Word Challenge’
When Nance Elementary classes meet in the gymnasium next week for the school’s “Friday Farewell” assembly, two classes will be recognized for reaching a major reading milestone. The kindergarten classes of Kayla Yandell and Florence Gathright have each read 1 million words this school year, as measured by the district’s Footsteps2Briliance software program.
Clinton Public Schools is in its fourth year of using the online bilingual reading program. It was a Footsteps2Brilliance company representative who brought the accomplishment to the attention of Stephanie Hime, district director of Clinton’s ELL and Gifted and Talented programs, and Elementary Curriculum.
“Both classes had met what Footsteps2Brilliance calls their ‘Million Word Challenge,’ and our rep reached out to me because she was so excited about it,” said Hime. “Then I contacted Principal (Janalyn) Taylor. She’s really an advocate for Footsteps. She decided to present certificates to those classes at the Friday Farewell assembly, to let them know they’ve reached this.”
Hime said the Footsteps program contains hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books. The software was installed on iPads inside the kindergarten classrooms and students spent a portion of each day reading individually.
Even though Clinton Public Schools purchased it for the district’s students, anyone within the 73601 zip code area can register for Footsteps2Brilliance and use it for free. Parents can read ABC books with their very young children, or they can even use the program themselves to learn Spanish.
“It’s an outreach to our community,” said Hime. “We purchased Footsteps with our EL students in mind, but then we realized it was great for teaching Spanish to our English-speaking students at a young age.
“It’s also great for our students from Spanish-speaking families. We have generational Hispanics within our school district now who are losing their native language, and Footsteps gives them a chance to work on their Spanish so they don’t lose their native language.”
Clinton was the first school district in Oklahoma to begin using Footsteps2Brilliance. This year it also became the first to use a new bilingual reading program, developed by the same company, but specifically targeted to pre-k students.
“The company approached me last spring and asked if I’d be interested in applying for the pilot program. I talked with Mrs. Taylor and she then got the ball rolling for that, and we were chosen for the pilot program. Not everyone got to do that.
“So far I’ve gotten positive feedback from our teachers, and at the end of the year we’ll evaluate the data and see if it’s something we want to add to our reading program.”