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Pre-K students learn to read and spell through technology funded by education foundation grant

Special to Leader-Press


"Choose the one that starts with the letter B."  "Choose the one that ends with the sound ‘ch’." "Which one starts with the same sound as this picture?" Flashcards infused with technology ask pre-K students at Mae Stevens Learning Academy these questions as the young scholars increase their abilities to read and spell.

Paraprofessional Vanessa Sims received a Copperas Cove Education Foundation grant for $5,385 to purchase Beginning Phonics Hot Dot Jr. and the Alphabet Hot Dot Jr. Both are fun and interactive ways for young students to practice rhyming words, letter sounds, final sounds, and initial sounds.

Teacher Natalie Ramsey was excited that the Hot Dot Jr. products were purchased to enhance student learning in her classroom.

“I think they are great practice and love that they are self-checking for the students, providing instant feedback and praise. They are able to work independently at their stations and they have fun while learning,” Ramsey said. “I love hot dots sets because they are an interactive way for kids to learn.”

Many of the 4-year-olds are interested in learning how to read but become bored practicing with regular flash cards, Ramsey said. Each set includes 36 sturdy, double sided activity cards with a total of 72 activities. The cards are designed with fun, bright pictures. Matching picture to picture through rhymes turns learning into games for children.

"I liked using it and it was fun," pre-K student Mia Finto said.

The Hot Dots Jr. Beginning Phonics also comes with a sturdy carrying case to keep all the cards organized inside so students practice the habit of picking up after themselves and putting away their items when finished with them.    

The Alphabet Hot Dot Jr. helps students learn their upper and lower-case letters, as well as letter sequencing. The students have fun lights and encouraging audio to help Ramsey guide them through the lessons and help keep them on track.

"It was fun,” said pre-K student Daxton Toss. “I liked the game."

The Mae Stevens Hot Dots Grant for Learning was one of several grants, valued at nearly $30,000, awarded to 21 staff members to fund innovative teaching ideas through this school year. The Copperas Cove Education Foundation raises the money it awards for teaching grants through its annual Boots and Buckles Gala. This year’s event is scheduled April 9 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center and includes dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $50 and are available by calling (254) 547-1227 or emailing


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