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COE participates in Children’s Choice

March 24, 2016

REBEKAH BARNES

Staff Reporter | reb033@latech.edu

In an age when books are moving to digital platforms, educators are doing what they can to continue putting physical books in the hands of students, and Louisiana Tech’s College of Education is collecting books for its own library.

Tech is one of five sites in the U.S. participating in the Children’s Choice project to determine what students enjoy reading by providing local elementary schools with brand new books.

“When we received the latest ‘Percy Jackson’ book, it wasn’t in the bookstore yet,” Amy Vessel, an associate professor of curriculum, instruction and leadership, said. “We were holding the book here for three weeks before the world could buy that at Barnes & Noble.”

Vessel is the Children’s Choice site leader for Louisiana. Tech has a three year commitment to Children’s Choice, and will provide elementary and college students with over 3,000 books in that time. They have already reached over 2,500 kindergarten through sixth grade students locally.

“These libraries are now overflowing with books, so you have happy students, happy teachers and ecstatic librarians,” she said. “I mean, we just added almost a thousand books to their libraries.”

She said they will have a fully circulating library available to all College of Education majors, so they can use those books in their courses from practicum to student teaching.

“What’s so exciting is to watch our professors take such a great interest in the books, and they are now pulling the books to use in their methods courses,” Vessel said. “So it’s created an amazing set of resources for our students and our professors in the College of Education.”

Bryan McCoy, the department chair of curriculum, instruction and leadership, said Children’s Choices puts the best and most current books into the hands of students.

“We definitely have to be selective in providing reading materials for children,” McCoy said. “We can select what we think are high quality books, but we have to know what they’re interested in.”

Mahjabin Chowdhury is working on her Master of Arts in Teaching and is a current student teacher in Tech’s year-round clinical residency program. Chowdury has been able to see firsthand how the Children’s Choice books have impacted her first graders at Glen View Elementary.

“I cannot describe the feeling when a kid starts to read,” Chowdhury said. “When she struggles and she overcomes it, it empowers her or him as well as the teacher. It gives you hope.”

She said she had a student who could not read at all, but after three months she heard the student reading aloud.

“You can see the result of your effort and it’s not in vain,” she said. “It’s really there, and it’s working.” 

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