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School's in for the summer

July 20, 2000

School's in for the summer



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Summer SchoolKyle Donahue is spending his summer vacation doing what's probably not expected of most 10-year-olds during the hiatus from school: He's back in the classroom.

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Donahue, a fifth-grader at Emma K. Doub Elementary School, is enrolled in the summer literacy program at Bester Elementary School along with about 150 other students. The program is a joint effort between both schools.

Hundreds of other students from Washington County elementary schools are in similar programs.

The program is geared toward reinforcing and advancing reading skills and written responses to literature for students in first through fifth grades. Students were chosen based on teacher recommendations and parent requests.

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"The teachers are really nice and they tell us so we understand what's going on," Donahue said. "We get to meet new kids from different schools."

The eight-day-long program began at the beginning of July with first- and second-graders and will end on July 30 with students in grades up to fifth. Students spend four hours a day in small groups doing reading and writing tasks, including writing plays, poetry and recipes.

Teachers said the literacy program also helps kids socialize and meet some of the students with whom they'll be going to school when they move on to E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

"It's been a wonderful program," Kris Burgan, summer literacy coordinator for Emma K. Doub said. "It's been a great opportunity for our schools to come together. And we're trying to have kids read and write about something they're interested in."

The program was funded through a federal SAFE Grant. It coincides with the school system's goal of having 65 percent of all students reading at or above grade level by 2000, according to the Board of Education.

Alexa Hurley, 9, a fifth-grader at Bester Elementary, said taking part in the program is one of the highlights of her summer.

"It's fun, and there's a lot of cool things to do here," she said. "And there are a lot of kids here too."

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