4 deaf Tulsa students could earn free trip to DC

Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 07:23:02-04

Four students at Wright Elementary are hoping for a chance to win an all expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. for the National Spelling Bee after submitting a video displaying their love for reading.

Since it has been submitted, the video has been recognized as one of the top 10 videos within the competition and the students have earned a Kindle Paperwhite for the classroom.

Although they worked very hard to create the video, each student has had to overcome physical limitations as well.

All of the students in Angela Smith's fifth grade class are deaf and learning to read has been a challenge for many in her class.

Despite the difficulties, Smith says the spelling bee video competition sparked an interest for many of her students wanting to continue to learn new words and read more books.

“One thing you run into the at the fifth grade level is interest. Books that they are able to read are not necessarily books that they are interested in. I wanted something, again, to solidify and drive home the importance of reading,” Smith said.

If selected each of the four students will earn a round trip flight to Washington D.C., a room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, a $400 gift card and tickets to the National Zoo Experience.

Smith, who has been teaching deaf students for a number of years, says learning to read can be difficult for her students because many of them are unable to sound out or hear the pronunciation of words.

Deaf students must memorize words and use photos and symbols identifying the word itself.

Although learning to read complex books may be more time consuming for deaf students, the spelling bee video competition has encouraged Smith's students to practice outside of the classroom.

“The interest of the competition has definitely increased their interest in probably even watching the spelling bee. It's perked their interest up in reading and knowing that there is more out there than just what's in the classroom. It's not just here in my classroom, it's not at Wright or even in Tulsa, but that reading is everywhere and it's really important,” Smith said.

In order to help the four students earn a trip to Washington D.C. click here to vote.

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