WEST PAWLET - Kimberly Donaldson, a Literacy Specialist at the Mettawee Community School, proudly announces that the grand opening of Mettawee's Guided Reading Library was held on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

"Our Guided Reading Library will be instrumental in providing our students with the personalized instruction they need to become strategic readers. A project of this magnitude would not have been possible without administrative support at both the supervisory and school level and from the efforts of our teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff to order, label, catalog, and shelve texts," said Donaldson, who spearheaded the development of the GRL at Mettawee. "It takes a community to raise a Guided Reading library . . . and we did it."

Donaldson said that the goal to have a library of leveled texts began over a year ago. The BRSU Guided Reading Training began back in October of 2012 and was followed by a number of other trainings held over the winter and then through the spring and summer of this year. Additionally BRSU literacy specialists met to collectively order/purchase texts. The summer and fall of 2013 saw the on-site sorting, labeling and cataloging of the GRL books.

Year two of the BRSU Guided Reading Training is now underway and with Mettawee's GRL now open Phase II begins.

"Phase Two is to create a take-home collection of books within the Guided Reading Library for students to use for take-home practice," said Donaldson. The timeline continues into 2014 with a to-be-determined Phase III that is expected to include an assessment section in the Guided Reading Library. Mettawee Community School Principal Brooke DeBonis said that teachers have been receiving professional development in guided reading and that a goal last year was for teachers to use more guided reading books in their daily reading instruction for their students.

The school also used local money to purchase additional titles from a series that the students enjoyed.

"We are so lucky to have these books to support our students as they become the best readers they can be," said DeBonis.

Several members of the Mettawee Community School's faculty and staff aided Donaldson in the seeing the GRL come to fruition. The following people played a role in the program: DeBonis - administrative support; fourth grade teacher Dawn Robertson - leveling, labeling and organization; literacy specialist Lauren Kelly - leveling, labeling, organization and cataloging; librarian Kelly Ahlfeld - naming the place, space for new collection, cataloging and video tutorials; paraeducator Denise Fisher - organization; paraeducator Linda Maness - cataloging; administrative assistants Cheryl Chalmers and Susan King, and now-retired administrative assistant Gail Nelson - ordering, and custodians Rich Cleveland and Bill Wood - recycling.