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Students in Texas District Learn Literacy, Robotics as Early as 3 Years Old

Students in Texas District Learn Literacy, Robotics as Early as Three

As part of ASCD’s Smartbrief Education Path to Workforce series, Texas superintendent Ruben Alejandro discussed his initiatives to best prepare students in his district for college and career. Part of Alejandro’s philosophy includes the requirement that students be taught literacy and STEM skills by the age of three or four.

"We teach robotics and STEAM starting in kindergarten, and are now including 3- and 4-year-olds. With the help of an engineer, our youngest students are building a Mars rover — a modular car that they can put together and drive,” Alejandro said.

"As far as I know, nobody in the world is bringing this level of STEAM and robotics to 3- and 4-year-olds,” Alejandro speculated.

But to Alejandro, teaching students such skills is crucial to ensure they get on and stay on a path to success; Alejandro believes students should begin learning literacy skills immediately.

"I have a strong focus on early learning, and a big part of that is early literacy. In 2014, we worked with a corporate partner to launch an initiative called 'Zero to Three: Weslaco Reads,' so kids who are 0–3 can download books and read them. The program highlights and pronounces words, and you can change the speed of reading so young kids can get started at their own pace,” he said.

“Zero to Three: Weslaco Reads” was formed in 2014 and Alejandro says the results have been positive ever since.

"To keep all of our students reading, we have reading and writing camps during Christmas, spring and summer breaks. Kids can go to the library and download books to read for free. We have a competition called the Millionaire Club, which pushes kids to read a million words. Over last Christmas break, we had one little girl who read 40 books. We also have writing competitions to get students writing for pleasure and to prepare for state assessments.”

Read the full post.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/7/2016

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