Principals and reading teachers from Sherman and Denison school districts gathered at Terrell Elementary in Denison Thursday to receive $20,000 in grant funds for literacy programs.

Principals and reading teachers from Sherman and Denison school districts gathered at Terrell Elementary in Denison Thursday to receive $20,000 in grant funds for literacy programs.


Denison High School and Terrell Elementary in Denison and Sherman High School and Fred Douglass Early Childhood Center in Sherman each received a $2,500 grant. The Grayson Literacy Team, which specializes in promoting literacy in adults, received a grant of $10,000. This is the second year that many of the schools received this grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.


"You cannot believe how many people cannot read," said Betsy Anderson, team director for the Grayson Literacy Team.


The GLF used last year’s grant to further literacy in children and adults as a way of getting entire families reading together, said Anderson. Among other programs, the Team has worked alongside local churches by distributing reading materials to families through local food pantries.


Ellen Marcy, a reading intervention teacher at Terrell Elementary, oversaw the spending of the last year’s grant. With the grant and extra funding from the district, Marcy was able to obtain reading material for struggling readers at all elementary schools in the DISD.


"Now we are all using the same material," said Marcy.


Marcy purchased a series of books entitled "Leveled Literacy," which is designed to advance as the student progresses and improves in reading, writing and phonics. The books are designed for the third grade reading level, but can be modified for first through fifth grade through the leveling system.


At Fred Douglass, school officials invested the grant into the library and into a program designed to teach English as a second language, said Principal Deloris Dowell.


The program, which is entitled "Singlish," is designed to teach English through music and dance. Dowell was also able to acquire books on themes that are common throughout the grade levels for the school’s library. Dowell purchased the books so that a teacher could easily find something in the library to go along with common lessons and subjects that are not dependant on grade level.


At Denison High School, the grant money from last year was put toward library resources, said Dr. Cavin Boettger, principal of DHS. The funding primarily went into investing in electronic resources and ebooks, which students can use through the school’s Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD system, said Boettger.


This has allowed students to check out electronic resources using smart phones, computers and e-readers. Boettger said this system has appealed to students, who prefer it over traditional books.


Sherman High School invested the funds into its reading program by purchasing multiple classroom sets of novels and literature for English classes, said Principal Peggy Van Marter. This will allow multiple teachers to be able to teach using the novels at the same time. The novel sets include classic standards like "Romeo and Juliet" and "To Kill a Mockingbird," among others, said Van Marter.