Marlington Receives Ohio Department of Education Literacy Scholarship

LEXINGTONTWP. − Mary Beth DelCalzo, an elementary school teacher in Lexington, soothed the wobbly preschoolers sitting on the floor in front of her so they could hear the words she was about to say.

“What word rhymes with cat?” She began. “Listen to your choices: mat or mop.”

The children chorused, “Mat!”

The class sailed through the series of rhyming words and then began to break down words into individual sounds.

They waved their hands in a chopping motion as they separated the “nuh” sound from “ose” in the word nose.

They banged their fists skyward to emphasize the “da” sound at the end of the made and fed words.

They clapped their hands together like a sandwich to put the sounds “ha” and “eye” together to form the word “hi.”

“Have you guys been practicing?” DelCalzo asked the 17 preschoolers as they finished their word rolls. “You must have practiced because I can’t believe it.”

Mary Beth DelCalzo, an elementary school teacher in Lexington, repeats the sounds different letters make during a literacy lesson with her kindergarten kids.  Marlington Local is one of only 25 Ohio school districts to have received a $200,000 state grant aimed at helping schools improve the way they teach literacy.

For example, the 40-year-old educator wasn’t teaching reading concepts at Lexington Elementary a few years ago.

Marlington has spent the last three years improving how it teaches students to read and write. District leaders introduced reading programs such as Haggerty and Foundations to help teachers better teach students how to learn the individual sounds of words (phonemic cognition) and how those sounds are written (phonics). Research has shown that these types of skills help students learn to read.