Funds accelerate reading, learning
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
October 10, 2012 01:29 AM | 2779 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Pitner Elementary School Principal Sherri Hill, second from right, along with PTSA vice president Jennifer Melko, left, and president Shari Koch, right, received a donation from Paul Letalien to purchase a new Web-based accelerated reader program for the Acworth school. The elementary school has had the current reader program installed on their computers for almost a decade but will soon be losing it as the school district wipes the computers clean in order to upgrade them.  <br>Staff/Laura Moon
Pitner Elementary School Principal Sherri Hill, second from right, along with PTSA vice president Jennifer Melko, left, and president Shari Koch, right, received a donation from Paul Letalien to purchase a new Web-based accelerated reader program for the Acworth school. The elementary school has had the current reader program installed on their computers for almost a decade but will soon be losing it as the school district wipes the computers clean in order to upgrade them.
Staff/Laura Moon
slideshow
The spines of books that are used for the accelerated reader program display the reading level and available points for the students.
The spines of books that are used for the accelerated reader program display the reading level and available points for the students.
slideshow
ACWORTH — When budget cuts jeopardized the Accelerated Reading program at Pitner Elementary School in Acworth, Paul Letalien stepped up.

Letalien, owner of Archer Restoration, assisted the school by purchasing web-based software and supplies for the reading comprehension program, which will cost around $5,000.

The computer program, which students use during and after the school day, provides incentives for kids to reach reading goals. Jennifer Melko, vice president of Pitner’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association, said it provides benefits to students.

“For parents to be able to sit down and read with a child may be hard,” she said. “With the AR program, to be able to do it in school, it allows them to get reading they may not get.”

In some cases, the parents actually go to school and work with the students in the Accelerated Reading program.

“The parents sit there and the students take the test,” said PTSA President Shari Koch.

Koch said her own experience has shown her the value of Accelerated Reading. Her son used the program throughout elementary school, with the exception of his fourth-grade year. That also turned out to be the only year in which he didn’t get straight A’s in his classes.

“It’s critical that students at a young age develop a love for reading,” she said.

Of the 947 students at Pitner, more than 700 use Accelerated Reading, Koch said.

After the PTSA contacted him about the possibility of Accelerated Reading being canceled, Letalien said he had to take action. He has made previous donations to education, including $50,000 to help start a Ready for Work program at North Cobb High School, which allows to students to learn about construction.

“If the school is dropping a program and the kids are doing well with it, if it goes by the wayside, it’s going to be a loss,” he said. “The ones who were brought up reading, they seem to be better employees and have a better grasp.”

Letalien said the Accelerated Reading program allows students to think lessons through, something they can’t always do.

“It’s becoming a lost art,” he said.

Letalien also made a donation that will keep Pitner’s Fall Festival afloat. The event, which Melko said is the school’s largest fundraiser, takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at Pitner, 4575 Wade Green Road. The festival will include a hayride to shuttle attendees from the parking lot at Wildwood Church, as well as carnival games, pony rides, a rock wall and a bounce house.
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JOHN MCDONALD
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October 10, 2012
I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THANK YOU TO MR.PAUL LETALIEN.

YOU ARE TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

FURTHER MORE I AM EMPLOYED BY PAUL AND AND VERY PROUD TO BE PART OF A COMPANY THAT DONATES THERE TIME AND MONEY TO LOCAL EVENTS SUCH AS THIS.

ARCHER RESTORATION SERVICES IS A BLESSING TO MYSELF AND MY FAMILY. THANK YOU AGAIN PAUL FOR ALL YOU DO.

SINCERELY,

JOHN MCDONALD
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