Southeast Polk Foundation Grant Helps Strengthen Literacy Skills for Students 

A $19,000 grant from the Southeast Polk Education Foundation allowed the curriculum department to purchase multi-sensory instructional resources to support preschool through second-grade students. The resources are pivotal in supporting students with Dyslexia, Autism, and students in need of a strong Structured Language Literacy routine such as English Learners. 

The multi-sensory materials include sand, sand trays, and blending boards. Current research states that a multi-sensory approach is key to success in teaching reading, writing, and comprehension. Multisensory learning is engaging and fun but also based on educational brain research. 

Additionally, they were able to purchase professional learning resources that were distributed to teachers as well as training. The training involved professional learning about the routines and how to use multisensory materials. Each of the modules included learning the research, practice of the strategies, and time for teachers to collaborate and learn from one another. 

Tammy Steenhoek, Southeast Polk Language Arts Coordinator, shared “Southeast Polk teachers know that the combination of explicit and direct phonics instruction and frequent opportunities to read rich text builds a strong literacy foundation for all of our students. By integrating multisensory learning experiences into our language arts instruction, we are more likely to reach young readers who benefit from visual and auditory learning, as well as movement. It is exciting that Southeast Polk is supporting teachers and students with training and resources in this area. We are moving in a great direction!”