PEF Grants Nooks to Donaghue

Nooks have given students access to a much broader variety of books than was ever possible before

Nooks have given students access to a much broader variety of books than was ever possible before


Christine Russell is a special education teacher at the Donahue School. She identified an opportunity to improve student engagement and achievement in reading activities by moving from traditional books, notebooks and dictionaries, to tablet computers. She applied for a grant from the PEF to fund the procurement of tablets for her classes.


The PEF issued a $3,950 grant to Russell, which she used to purchase Samsung Galaxy Nooks for her classroom.


The Nooks have enabled Russell to dramatically improve the reading curriculum in her classroom. Her students can now access a much broader variety of books on different topics and reading levels than was ever possible with traditional paper-based books. The Nooks also provide built-in dictionary functionality so students can learn new words “on the fly,” rather than having to stop their reading activities to use a paper dictionary.  They also now have access to unlimited research resources on the Internet, and Russell has even set up incentive plans where kids can “earn” the right to play a game on their Nook if they perform well in class. 

We’re seeing benefits we didn’t even anticipate...None of this would have been possible without the PEF grant – it has been a blessing to have such great support from the people at the PEF.
— Christine Russell; Special Education Teacher - Helen R. Donaghue

A Thank you from Christine Russell

"I was the recipient of a PEF grant for NOOKs for the classroom.  I worked with Julie Torissi.  She was very helpful throughout the entire process.  We have been using the NOOKs since last year.  They have been very helpful and motivating for students.  We have since acquired several books at different levels and on different topics, some fiction and some nonfiction.  The students love reading on them, if they come across a word that they do not know, the simply highlight it and look it up.  They can also take notes on the book right in the tablet.  The students have also been able to use the different apps that are on them.  They use the dictionary when editing their writing. They have used Smithsonian to find facts.  They are also able to use the internet for research.  One thing I did not expect to use the NOOKs for is incentives.  When a student on a behavior plan has a good day or earns enough points throughout the day, they are able to use the games on the NOOKs. This has been working well for those students.  In the future I plan to have students work in book groups using the nooks. I am grateful that you selected my idea to work on.  It has been a blessing to have such great people working to help the teachers of Pentucket Regional School District put their ideas into action. "