MOUNT VERNON — Columbia Elementary’s 6-year-old summer reading program is designed to keep students reading skills sharp and has succeeded.
Available to children getting ready to enter grades one through four, the program is offered once a week and lasts an hour and a half each week, from the Thursday after school is out to the Thursday before school resumes in August.
The instructors for the program are all volunteers, and include librarian Dee Rhodeback and teachers Erin Humphrey, Kim Atkinson, Stacey Suarez and Tiffeny Miller.
Humphrey said the average attendance is approximately 30 pupils per week, and not all of the participants are from Columbia. Besides bibliophiles from other area schools such as Wiggin Street Elementary, one regular reader comes from Cardington.
The goal of the program, said Humphrey, is to get books in students’ hands to keep pupils reading over the summer so they maintain their reading level or even increase their reading skills. Since the books come from the school library, the students are able to check books out that truly match their ability level as well as their individual interests. The pupils can also work on their [Success Maker] computer reading programs.
Six-year-old Patrick said he enjoys coming to the reading program. He likes being able to pick out books and take them home. He likes reading science books, especially about rocks. Patrick also enjoys reading about real people, and doesn’t mind a fiction tale every now and then.
The reading sessions last from 10:30 a.m. to noon, then lunch is served by parishioners at South Vernon United Methodist Church. Humphrey said the church members also usually share a story with the children before they leave.
As an extra bonus, the school gardens will soon be full of vegetables and the pupils will be encouraged to pick from the garden before they leave each week.