Vernon woman named an ING 'Unsung Hero'

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:57

    Debra Redding wins award for her reading program 'Ready, Set, Let’s Read' VERNON — Debra Redding, who was named West Milford's teacher of the year for the 2010-2011 school year, can add another award to her mantle. Redding was honored by the ING Unsung heroes Program for her "Ready, Set, Let's Read" program, an innovative, comprehensive and systematic approach to the development of literacy skills. Redding, a Vernon resident, teaches third grade at West Milford's Maple Road School. She will receive a $2,000 grant from ING to put to use for her reading program. And now she will compete with other winners for one of the top three prizes, an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000. The goal of "Ready Set, Let's Read" is to recognize that students’ abilities vary and it is important to honor their individual differences, according to Redding. Her program aims to help third-graders acquire various skills including being able to identify and select print material that is written at their specific proficiency level, improve their presentation skills and enhance their vocabulary and the articulation of thinking patterns. In addition, the program is designed to help them make connections to the texts they read and learn to write to a specific audience. Here's how it works: At the beginning of the year, students’ reading levels are assessed to help guide the teacher in grouping the class into four reading levels. A color is given to each student depending on their reading level. These colors appear in squares on a reading wheel to designate independent reading activities. The teacher can signal for the students to progress through three color-coded activities during each class period. Redding designed the program to allow teachers to give focused attention to a group while knowing the other students are productively engaging in worthwhile tasks. The ING Unsung Heroes program has awarded nearly $3.8 million honoring innovation and creativity among the nation's educators since its inception 15 years ago. The program honors educators who have a significant impact on the lives of youth, but remain tremendously under-appreciated and unrecognized, according to a description of the ING program. Redding was one of only 100 winners across the country who received a $2,000 award to help fund her program. For more information about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit