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Grant Project to Enlist 30 Ed Students

Thirty Smith undergraduate and graduate students in education and child development will act as the research and development team on a two-year project to create innovative approaches to elementary school literacy.

The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education to the Mohawk Trail Regional School and, in addition to Smith students, will involve the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, and the Hampshire Educational Collaborative in Northampton.

Under the direction of Susan M. Etheredge, associate professor of education and child study, the Smith education students will develop technology-enhanced curriculum and instructional units based on picture books for the use of teachers at the Mohawk Trail Regional School. Called “Picture Writers: Promoting Literacy Through Picture Book Art and Literature,” the project seeks to improve writing and reading comprehension in the region. “The goal of Picture Writers is to develop a model literacy program that fosters a love of reading, writing, and art in elementary school children,” says Etheredge.

During the month of January and throughout the summer, Etheredge will lead professional development workshops for the Mohawk School teachers in literacy research and practice. During the spring, elementary students and teachers will create
technology-enriched units and materials that reflect what they have learned about picture book art and literature. The materials will be in multimedia formats and will include writing samples, videos, and photos; the materials will be collected and stored on CDs for use by educators.



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