WA School Uses Grant to Buy Audiobooks for Struggling Readers

A reading interventionist at a Washington state school recently received a grant to acquire audiobooks for her elementary students. Pasadena Park Elementary School's Learning Assistance Program Interventionist Erin Maier will use the $10,500 grant from the Hagan Foundation to buy 120 audiobooks and devices from Playaway, specifically to help struggling readers take part in class discussions.

"With the financing from the Hagan Foundation, we will be able to create a section in the school library for media checkout of Playaway Audiobooks, by teachers and students for student use," the school announced on its website. "This project will touch and impact all 360 students at Pasadena."

According to local reporting, Maier initially worked with the local public library to set up usage of Overdrive, which provides downloadable audio books, for fifth graders. But sometimes there's a waitlist for certain titles, and once the title expires, it's not always renewable. As she began seeking alternatives, that's when she discovered Playaway.

The Playaway audiobook is preloaded on a small device that's simple to operate and allows the student to listen at five different narration speeds. It runs on AAA batteries that provide about 30 hours of playtime, according to the company. To listen, the student plugs in earbuds and presses the play button.

Both the audiobooks and accompanying print books will be available for use at the school, in the classroom and for checkout so that students can take them home and listen to stories.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.