TRC's Stimulus Package - Our First Winner! October 13 2009

The Editors here at Teaching Resource Center were so inspired by the stimulus funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we had to create our own Stimulus Package! From now through Friday, we are giving away $100 in store credit to TRC.

We started the contest last on October 2nd, and we've picked the first winner! Cheryl McHenry is a first grade teacher in Jacksonville, Florida. We are happy to spotlight her story:

In August, 2009, the Florida Department of Education rolled out the new Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading in public schools. Developed by the Florida Center for Reading Research in collaboration with Just Read, Florida!, this new assessment system provides teachers screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring information that is essential to guiding instruction.

I recently assessed my class on Word Reading, which is an important building block that predicts my students reading success.  We work on this skill daily in our classroom.

Based on the performance of four students in the above task, it is predicted that these students have a moderate probability of scoring at or above grade level on the end of the year comprehension task.  My four students Probability of Reading Success (PRS) score is 21%.

Based on students’ performance on the Word Reading task, I administered further assessments to determine their specific areas of needs.  The Targeted Diagnostic Inventory (TDI) measured the skills necessary for success in first grade. 

The following reading skills were performed “Below Expectations”

  • Phoneme Blending- The ability to blend phonemes to make new words.  For example, the students can combine /s/ /ick/ to pronounce the word “sick.”
  • Phoneme Deletion (Initial)-The ability to remove beginning phonemes to make new words.  For example, the student can remove /k/ from the word “cat” to pronounce the word “at.”
  • Phoneme Deletion (Final)- The ability to remove final phonemes to make words.  For example, the student can remove /k/ from the word “bake” to pronounce the word “bay.”
  • Word Building (Consonants)- The ability to change consonants of a word to make new words.  For example, the student can take the word “hot” and replace the /h/ with /n/ to make the word “not.”

My goal will be to monitor the progress of all four students in reading and the specific skills performed “Below Expectations.” I am glad to have these students in my class and will do everything I can to make this an enjoyable year of learning for all of them. 

I wish to purchase a few items to support these students learning gains to “Meet Expectations.” My short term goals would include increasing student Probability of Reading Success (PRS) to 50%.  My long term goals would include increasing student PRS to 75%. 

I would like for my short term goal to be met by the 2nd administration of Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading (FAIR).  Additionally, I would like my long term goal to be met by the 3rd administration of FAIR.

Your stimulus fund would help support our classroom with materials to develop my students reading success.  Specifically, I am looking to purchase three items from The Teacher Resource Center website.  I know my whole class would benefit from the Word Building Mat Cards for our skills block activities.  This item cost $4.00.  I would like to purchase several to ensure each student would have enough letter cards.  My lowest percentile students are currently in tutoring and would benefit from the use of Reading Rods Word Building Kit and Phonics Word Building Puzzles.  The Reading Rods Word Building Kit would help these kinesthetic learners by providing an opportunity to work hands on building words.  This item is color coded to add a visual element to word building task.  The cost of the Reading Rods Kit is $50.95.  Additionally, the Phonics Word Building Puzzles add another visual element with a picture for independent word building activities. The cost of the puzzles is $26.95.

I continue to strive for excellence in my career.  As a fourth year teacher, I am developing and refining my instruction to meet each student’s needs.  It is important for me to strengthen my students reading skills.  I am grateful for your time and generosity!

Thank you, Cheryl, for your hard work! We're glad we can help.

You Can Still Enter Our Contest!

We are giving away $100 of store credit, and the topic is "Stimulus Funds: My Story." Entering is easy:

  1. Submit a true story involving your experience with stimulus funds (500 words minimum, 1,000 words maximum).  This could include how you're trying to access these funds, how you would use these funds, or how you've already been able to use them, but it could also include a different angle. Photographs and video are accepted with each entry. 
  2. Include your full name, the grade(s) you teach, your email address, and your city/state.
  3. Email your entry to, and include "Stimulus Entry" in the subject line. Attach your story as a Word document OR copy and paste it into the body of the email.
  4. Contest Opens: NOW. Closing Date: EXTENDED to Friday, October 31st. One entry per person.

If your story is chosen, it will be published on Teaching Resource Center, and you'll receive $100 in store credit! Enter today!