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Gift of Literacy award given

Cumberland County Elementary School (CCES) recently became the recipient of a second “Gift of Literacy” award from Valley of Lynchburg Scottish Rite. According to donation guidelines, the funds received may be used in any way deemed necessary by teachers to support early literacy.

Principal Ginny Silveira Gills stated, “I still remember the first time that Jim Charleston reached out to me. He explained how the Scottish Rite organization works hard to give back to their communities by supporting early literacy projects, and how he wanted Cumberland students to be recipients too. I really was in disbelief, but it happened — and now it’s happening again!”

Last year the pre-K team collaborated and identified the need for sensory tubs and alphabet enhancement centers. This year, the team used the donation to purchase a learning center for each of the six preschool classes.

“Each center includes a set of six headphones with a storage rack, a CD player and many books with accompanying CD’s to share amongst our classes. Each class will have the listening center set up as a literacy workstation” shared Mrs. McCutcheon, lead teacher. She added, “The kids are not quite ready for it yet, but they will be just as soon as the routines and expectations are established!”

Teachers have observed that children take great pleasure in listening to stories; a new listening center with books and audio will allow students to listen to stories and enjoy books that they cannot yet read on their own. As a workstation, it will give the students a sense of independence and cultivate their love of reading. A listening center will provide opportunities for necessary repetition as well as develop critical comprehension skills.

Principal Gills believes the new listening centers will help to foster a love of reading that they work hard to instill at CCES. CCES staff believe that the more children hear their favorite books being read, the greater the likelihood that they will remain engaged, stay on task, and learn new vocabulary words.

“When listening with a special friend or two, the opportunities for playing creatively and acting out parts of the story are endless,” shares Mrs. McCutcheon.

Principal Gills noted, “I remain moved by the impact that this one group is making on early literacy in and around Lynchburg and Cumberland, and I am grateful for the continued support given to Cumberland Elementary School. The Valley of Lynchburg Scottish Rite has made a difference, and we are very appreciative.”

On Aug. 7, Cumberland Elementary School was presented with a check for $1,898.