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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
April 13, 2016     Hays Free Press
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April 13, 2016

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+ LOSS Buda woman authors childrens book about grieving. - Page 1C Hays Free Press April 13, 2016 Page 3B BY PAIGE LAMBERT For Barton Middle School student Cierra Fore, adjust- ing a bool4s text color and its reading speed on the Learn- ing Ally app is just a screen tap away. Each student in the dyslexia class also found the perfect set- ting to help them enjoy reading. Learning Ally was originally created to help blind World War II veterans understand textbooks in college. Now the nonprofit has over 6,000 audio books and aids thousands of people with dyslexia. LauraYounts, Barton Middle School's certified dyslexia teach- er, said the program has helped her students actually want to read and feel less isolated. "It really boosts their con- fidence when someone starts talking about a book and they have already read it," ounts said. "VVlth audio books they can be part of that conversation." Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by problems with identifying speech sounds and learning how to connect them to letters and words. According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, 15 to 20 percent of the national population has a language-based learning dis- ab ty. Reading for someone with dyslexia can be likened to try- ing to read a foreign language, said Debbie Brown, a Fuentes Elementary dyslexic teacher. "When you are reading a for- eign language, you are trying so hard to read all those words and it's very tiring," Brown said. "This takes that piece out of it so they can enjoy reading." Fore said at times she strug- PHOTO BY DEBBIE BROWN Third grade students listen to stories and read using the Learning Ally program at Fuentes Elementary school. Left to right are Cauis Coy, Michael Cariaga, Adyn Luna, KK Hatnot and Tyler Hix. Learning Ally was originally created to help blind World War II veterans understand textbooks in college. Now the nonprofit has over 6,000 books audio recorded and aids thousands of people with dyslexia. gles with remembering how to pronounce a word. The program allows her to repeatedly hear the word or view it in a particular way. Brown said her students like to read with a black background and brightly colored words. Oth- ers like to ear read, or listen, at a quicker speed than sight readers, she said. "One of their strengths is oral comprehension so they are able to learn more just by listening," Brown said. "If these kids can ear read faster it's great, as long as they get the practice." The nonprofit and teachers encourage students to practice with the assistance of a national reading competition. Students get one point for every twenty minutes they read during a six- week period. This year Younts' students Beau Bilbo and Jack Coats won 7th and 9th place, respectfully, for the most read pages. The two competed against 3,000 students across the nation. Younts said the program also encourages students to explore new ways to read using technol- ogy. One student has already got- ten into the habit of using tools like Google Read&Write in the classroom, she said. "I didn't think of adding that (Google Read&Write) compo- nent but he was already thinking about how am I going to read that?,"Younts said. Brown said many of her younger students have shown that out-of-the-box thinking and express it a lot more after using Learning Ally. She said many of her students create new inventions with Legos and projects that many students without dyslexia would have created. "Since they are reading in a different part of the brain, that part is freed up to be more creative and inventive," Brown said. "That is a good strength of that gain." PHOTOS BY DAVID WHITE Hemphill Elementary students got the opportunity to discover some of their limitless career options at the 2016 Career Day event last Friday. Volunteer representatives from careers as wide-ranging as criminal justice to veterinary medicine. Above, a representative from Firehouse Veterinary Clinic speaks to third- graders about what it's like to be a veterinarian. Bottom left, former county court-at-law judge Linda Rodriguez spoke to kids about her career, and right, Lehman criminal justice students demonstrate the job duties of a law enforcement officer. 6L|TC, J ED BY MOSES LEOS III Fewer than 50 Hays CISD students were affected after issues were discovered with the Texas Education Agency's online State of Texas Assess- ments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test. But according to Hays CISD public information officer Tim Savoy, exactly how many students' test answers were affected by the glitch won't be known until results come back in June. Savoy said, however, affect- ed students won't be penal- ized as a result of the issue. "(Fifty) is a high number, but we're pleased they won't be penalized for something that wasn't their fault," Savoy said. According to a TEA press re- lease, the TEA became aware of technical issues March 29 involving the online STAAR test after a number of districts, included Hays CISD, reported issues. Districts reported to the TEA and the Educational Test- ing Service, which administers the STAAR test statewide, that students' previously selected responses to the online test weren't appearing. The problem occurred once a student logged back on to their test after logging out, after the test timed out after 30 minutes, or where the district lost connectivity to the intemet. "The technical issues expe- rienced today during the on- line administration of STAAR are simply unacceptable," Commission of Education Mike Morath said in a state- ment March 29. "Such issues undermine the hard work of our teachers and students. Kids in the classroom should never suffer from mistakes made by adults." Morath went on to add that ETS isn't new to administering tests on a "large scale basis," so he couldn't accept the tran- sition to a new testing vendor as an excuse. "TEA also shares in the responsibility in the proper administration of these as- sessments," Morath said. Testing resumed March 31, with ETS restoring all of the student responses "that could be recovered," according to the release. According to re- port from KXAN, the Leander, Round Rock and Austin ISDs experienced online STAAR test issues. Savoy said Hays CISD im- mediately contacted the TEA to report the issues, which is standard district protocol. "When there is a concern or issues with testing, we call them. We report it right away," Savoy said. "The protocol is to call them right away with any testing issue that comes up." The district, however, wouldn't know the full scope of the impact until this sum- met. "There could be the issue where answers were not re- covered (by ETS)," Savoy said. "TEA has said those students will not be penalized." Seguin Gazette's 11th Annual Taste of Home Cooking School & Expo TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2016 Thousands of dollars in door prizes will be given away! Prizes include cookbooks, gift certificates, plus the delicious dishes prepared on stage. st., segmn, TX787 ss Expo 4~g School, 6:30 to 9:30 pm + il i ili l ..... i