McKee Baking Company, distributors of Little Debbie, provides grants for local schools and awarded a $1,000 grant to Ooltewah High.
"Little Debbie is not just the name of a road in the community or the well-known brand of snack treats found in lunch boxes. Little Debbie is also helping students at Ooltewah High learn new languages," officials said.
Haven Caylor-Brown, Ed. D, a Spanish teacher at Ooltewah High School, applied for one of the grants from McKee Baking.
After receiving the grant, Dr. Caylor-Brown used the funds to purchase comprehension-based second language acquisition readers in the Spanish language for his Spanish class. The readers are perfect for second language learning. The readers allow the Spanish language students to read popular novels in Spanish so they can make the language more relevant and meaningful.
“With our grant money, we have purchased four classroom sets of Spanish readers and their supplemental instructional materials,” said Dr. Caylor-Brown. “The readers and their supplemental materials are awesome tools that help our World Language teachers maintain a classroom environment where 90 percent of the instruction and learning is in the target language.”
Comprehension based learning is the ability to learn languages through understandable messages in the language through the repetition of what is heard and read, officials said.
“If the information is also compelling and in context, the acquisition will occur more quickly and will be more enjoyable for students. Being forced to speak or repeat words and phrases does not lead to acquisition or learning; it only leads to short term internalization of the words themselves,” Dr. Caylor–Brown added. “Learners need to hear and read words many, many times in an engaging and coherent way to internalize them to a point where they can use them.”
"After reading these innovative novels, the students are more culturally aware of Hispanic geography, special events, customs and, of course, the Spanish language," officials said. "They also take the target language knowledge they have acquired in the novels and use the Spanish language across other reading and writing, art, music, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, nature and sports.
"Interaction within the language where students use listening and answering can greatly improve a student’s ability to use a new language."