GREENVILLE – While their friends are out and about enjoying the lazy days of summer, a group of Greenville Elementary students are back in the classroom working on improving their reading skills.
As part of the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, schools are required to offer a summer school program, said Edwinna Thomas, third- and fourth-grade literacy coach, who also is running Greenville’s three-day a week summer reading program June 11 through July 10.
This past week, seven students spent some time reading Letters to the Editor to better understand the subject of “point of view.”
“This topic is brand new (for students) today,” Thomas said, explaining how the mandatory state reading tests require students to both read and write about what they’ve read – using prompts.
The summer reading program follows state curriculum requirements, offering a variety of resources for which teachers and students can choose to improve language arts skills.
Not only does Thomas read to students, she also provides them with time to select books of interest for them to read on their own. There’s also time set aside for students to access reading and language art games and activities on their iPads, the classroom’s Smart Board and board games designed to encourage reading and comprehension. The summer school students also are enrolled in the district’s Kids Read Now program — read a book, then get a new book in the mail.
The goal of the summer school program is for students to pass state testing – a test which can take up to 90 minutes to complete – and gain a love for reading. Students have three opportunities to take the state-mandated tests, Thomas said, during the third grade year.
At the beginning of the summer program, Thomas said she took the students into the elementary’s “book room.” The book room, she said is not the school’s library, but a room “dedicated for teachers to use” to provide books for students at all reading levels.
“They chose 10 books that interest them,” Thomas said. “If you enjoy what you read, you’re most likely to read it,”
“I read every night for 30 minutes,” said student Faith Nealis.
Nealis said she also enjoys writing poetry to help further her reading skills.
Thomas said students also stop to read 30 minutes during class “to try to build endurance” so they can read on their own or with their family at home.
“Reading together and talking about books with children is one of the best ways parents can support learners and instill in them a love for reading,” Thomas said. “Reading from a variety of texts help children develop better vocabularies and maintain reading skills they have learned in school.”
In-between all the summer family activities, Thomas urges parents to take time this summer to read to or listen while their child read to them.
“Although it’s important to read with your child at home throughout the school year, it is especially important to continue to do that over the summer break,” she said. “It will help children avoid ‘summer slide,’ which is the tendency to lose ground with regard to the progress they’ve made in reading during the school year. This is particularly true for children who may have struggled with learning to read.”