Young readers 'just so impressive'

Posted By

Pre-schooler Owen Tobergta completed the entire CleverKidsUniversity pre-reader program during the Mayor’s Reading Challenge. (photo provided)

Mayor’s Challenge helped double use of Read Ready Covington apps 

COVINGTON, Ky. - Some of Covington’s best young readers and pre-readers upped their game to impressive levels during the just-completed Mayor’s Reading Challenge.
 
Using the free apps offered to all Covington families through the Read Ready Covington initiative:
  • Pre-schooler Owen Tobergta completed the entire CleverKidsUniversity pre-reader program (CKU) in addition to over 2,000 skill-based games.
  • First-grader Cris Perez-Tomas read over 300 books on the Footsteps2Brilliance (F2B) app.
  • Kindergartener Alithea Gates spent more than 45 hours on F2B and also completed the entire CKU pre-reader.
  • First-grader Micah Lewis read over 100 books, with 89 percent comprehension on the Book Buddies quizzes.
  • And first-grader Yubin Fosco completed almost 500 skill-based games.
First-grader Cris Perez-Tomas, center, stands with his family as he receives his reading award from Mayor Joe Meyer.
  

“These children are just so impressive,” Mayor Joe Meyer said. “It’s wonderful to see them taking advantage of the opportunities presented by Read Ready Covington while their schools are shuttered.”
 
The five young readers were honored recently during an evening ceremony outside the Drees Pavilion in Covington’s Devou Park. Their accomplishments earned them certificates and cash awards as the top five finishers during the 2020 Read Across Covington Challenge, which began March 1 and ended April 15.
 
The challenge was offered through the Read Ready Covington (RRC) early childhood literacy program, which the City kicked off in November 2018 with help from a wide range of partnering organizations as a way to get the City’s youngest kids off to a better start in their school careers.

Kindergartener Alithea Gates stands with her family as she receives her reading award from Mayor Joe Meyer.


RRC’s foundation is the use of apps provided free for Covington parents that provide activities and reading exercises for kids and help parents introduce reading skills to their young children.
 
Use of those apps -- CleverKidsUniversity for ages 2 to 5, and Footsteps2Brilliance for ages 5 to 8 - has increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the closure of schools and daycare facilities.
 
Some teachers in both public and private schools have used the apps as part of specific non-traditional instruction (NTI) assignments, and use of the apps essentially doubled during a recent seven-week period, said Mary Kay Connolly, who is coordinating RRC.
 
Some 1,441 young children in Covington signed on to the dual CKU/F2B apps during that period, with those children completing almost 50,000 “books” and 32,000 skill-building games and being exposed to 15.2 million words.
 
“Read Ready Covington has become an even more valuable educational lifeline for Covington’s young children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

Micah Lewis stands with his family as he receives his reading award from Mayor Joe Meyer.

 
The winners:
Connolly provided more details about the top five winners of the challenge: 
  • First place: Owen Tobergta, a preschooler at James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center, taught by Jennifer Williamson. Owen has completed the entire CKU pre-reader program and has started on the F2B program. His father said he is using the apps to both to learn to read and to learn Spanish. Said his teacher, Williamson: “Owen loves Footsteps and is constantly on it, learning and creating exciting things. I’m glad he won.”
  • Second place: Cris Perez-Tomas, a first-grader at Glenn O. Swing Elementary, taught by Megan Farley. While reading over 300 books on the Footsteps2Brilliance (F2B) app, Cris gained exposure to over 150,000 words, Farley said.
    Third place: Alithea Gates, a kindergartener at Sixth District Elementary, taught by Angela Brooks. Alithea completed the entire CKU pre-reader and spent more than 45 hours on F2B. Her mother said she was so motivated to win the Mayor’s Challenge that she set goals to monitor her progress and increase momentum.
  • Fourth place: Micah Lewis, a first-grader at John G. Carlisle Elementary, taught by Andrea Leonard. In reading over 100 books, Mihah averaged an 89 percent comprehension on the Book Buddies quizzes. Micah’s mother said he had been participating on the F2B app long before the school closure and had made it a part of his regular learning-at-home routine.
  • Fifth place: Yubin Fosco, a first-grader at St. Augustine Elementary, taught by Katie White. Yubin’s mother said he has been using the learning apps not only at school but also at home all school year, encouraged by his teacher and principal. He in particular enjoys the skill-based games and has completed almost 500 of them.
First-grader Yubin Fosco stands with his family after receiving his reading award.

 
Read Ready Covington:
Through the CleverKidsUniversity and Footsteps2Brilliance apps, children can access over a thousand songs, stories, and skill-based games using any smart phone, tablet, laptop, or PC.
 
Besides the use of the apps, Read Ready Covington also organizes regular literacy events in housing communities around Covington, solicits donations of books to give out, and has installed several sets of metal signs around the city displaying letters of the alphabet that are “collected” by young children as part of a literacy scavenger hunt.

Pre-schooler Owen Tobergta stands with his family after receiving his reading award.


 
# # #