HARLINGE — “Look at the sea star.”

A photo shows a pink sea star sprawled across the rocks.

“Look at the sea snake,” reads the passage from a book in the new Leveled Literacy Library.

The Harlingen school district held a kickoff for the new program Thursday morning. Librarians, critical skills teachers and instructional coaches from the district’s 17 elementary schools gathered at Jefferson Elementary for a day-long workshop on the new program.

“I am very excited,” said Becky Dossett, critical skills teacher at Long Elementary.

“These literacy libraries are going to be great,” she said. “We are going to be in small groups. It’s good because we can use books that are at their reading level and work with that.”

Leveled Literacy Libraries is a program of Scholastic Education, which focuses on giving children books at their reading level and then empowering them to read more challenging books. The program consists of “kits” labeled A through Q, with A geared toward beginning readers. A segment of the library at each elementary campus will be set aside for materials from the new program.

“The kits have several things,” said Veronica Kortan, administrator for Organizational Development for the Harlingen school district.

“They have activities for the students, they have resources for the teachers and then they also have books,” Kortan said. “One entire unit of a kit has activities that students can use to enrich their reading ability. The teacher also has tools in that kit so they can work with the kids individually and start changing the progress of the student.”

Scholastic Education held a workshop in August to introduce the program to kindergarten-through second-grade teachers. Prissy Castillo, who teaches kindergarten bilingual education at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary School, attended that workshop and was delighted.

“There’s a lot of information that we can use with our students,” she said at the time. “We have been adding to the curriculum. These new opportunities for kids will make it an even better year.”

This is an exciting time for Harlingen schools, said Carmen Alvarez, early childhood specialist. She and a representative from Scholastic Education were moving supplies into the Jefferson Elementary library Thursday to begin the workshop.

“It’s an exciting time for our students and our teachers,” Alvarez said. “Everyone’s going to benefit. I think the kids will really enjoy it because they are going to be exposed to authentic texts. It’s real literature.”

Skip ahead for a moment to a book in the “A” level and see how students can progress.

“At last Barnum could see what he had dreamed about for so long: the complete skeleton of an entirely new dinosaur species — and a whopping big one too,” reads the passage.

Through this book, children will read about the famed paleontologist Barnum Brown, who discovered the first documented remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex. And it started with a book about sea animals.

Scholastic Education provides

Scholastic Education provides a wide range of literacy solutions for the classroom: whole class instruction with print and digital materials, small group instruction for guided reading and student book clubs, and independent reading.

One of those solutions is called “Small Group Solutions” and one of those solutions is the Leveled Bookroom.

Each Leveled Bookroom 4.0 includes:

Over 6,200 texts divided into reading levels labeled A – Z.

240 books per level (40 titles, 6 copies each)

60 New Short Reads per level (5 cards, 6 copies each)

Source: http://teacher.scholastic.com/education/literacy-instruction.htm

The Harlingen school district is using the Leveled Literacy Library for grades kindergarten through second grade. Each of the district’s elementary schools will have one segment of the library for a leveled book room with 640 titles in English, plus more in Spanish. These books will fall within levels A – Q.

Next year the Harlingen district will extend the program to grades third through fifth.