Forsyth County teacher delivers books to students to help them retain their reading skills

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — As students continue to do their school work online at home, teachers are taking extra steps to make sure they can retain the knowledge they’ve learned this school year. 

Data shared with FOX8 indicate students are estimated to retain only about 70 percent of their reading gains from this school year and less than 50 percent of their math skills due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a way to help students not lose their reading skills, a group of Sedge Garden Elementary teachers decided to raise money to buy books for their students. 

“You know what, we’re just going to get on Amazon Orime and make a wish list,” fourth grade teacher Caroline Farlow said.

March 13 was the last day she and her 27 students were in the same room together. Since then, they’ve done the classwork online by themselves. 

“it’s just not the same without that community together,” Farlow described as her mindset going into week five of quarantine. 

Her students were missing the ability to be together and even the special reading time they would have every class period. 

“One of the best parts about teaching is that read-aloud time. You really just get to dive into these books and the kids get so into it,” she said.

Farlow made a “reading wish list” on Amazon and made a post asking for financial donations to cover the cost of 27 books. The money was raised in less than three days. 

She bought 27 copies of “I-Survived the Battle of D-Day” (a series that explains historical events from a child’s point of view) and delivered them to every one of her students. 

“It took me about five hours that day, because it wasn’t just like a ‘Hey, let me drop this book and run.’ I had to see my kids and talk to them for a second,” she said.

Every day at 11 a.m., Farlow and her students log in to their online classroom and read a chapter from the book as a class. 

“It helps with their reading fluency, and they can hear me reading. A lot of them have actually volunteered to read that would have never read out loud in class,” Farlow said.

When asked, students said the class reading sessions were drastically helping their ability to read. 

One student said it helped them “actually learn some words for other people.” Parents even reported seeing their child’s reading skills improve.

Farlow said, “people may not remember what you do, but they will remember how you make them feel.”

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