Grand Prairie Pushes Tech to Entice More Reading

Grand Prairie ISD is investing $25,000 to encourage more students to read

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Grand Prairie ISD is hoping using technology can get more kids to read.

    The school district launched a pilot program this year where 30 Barnes and Noble Nook e-readers were distributed to three schools. The e-readers and other supplies will be used to $25,000 program is aimed at encouraging more students to read on a regular basis.

    More than 85-percent of the students attending Fannin Middle School aren't native English speakers, and many of them say they don't enjoy reading. The school district is hoping the e-books can help promote literacy.

    "They read 'Goosebumps,' they read 'The Hunger Games,' they read 'Dear Dumb Diary,' they read fun stuff," said Instructional Media Specialist Lisa Howell.

    Starting February, ten Nooks became available to check out for one week. 80 students are currently on the waiting list, waiting to take one home.

    Eighth grader Juan Nino said he really likes the fact that he can dig deep into his reading materials.

    "On the library books, I can't actually mark, while with the Nook I can highlight and note to where what I wanted to see on what I did not understand, or what I wanted to read again," Nino said.

    Sixth grader Robin Branch said she didn't enjoy reading because she kept losing her place while reading books. She said the new device has changed the way she learns.

    "I can just click the top and it gives me the bookmark, or if I didn't understand the word, I can click the word and it shows me what the meaning of the word is," she said.

    The presence of the e-books has made a difference at Fannin Middle School.

    "I've seen students who never come in to check out books come in because they want to read on the Nook," said Howell.

    Kathy Nichols, the district's Coordinator of Instructional Media, says the investment is well worth it.

    "If you can read, you can be successful in any subject, whether it's Math, Social Studies, Science, or English. Reading just helps these students to be successful," said Nichols.

    The district also bought additional Nooks to be used for a dual language program at an elementary school. Students will use those e-books to read in Spanish.