Area schools preparing students for a ‘summer of reading’

MANISTEE — Teachers and school personnel work hard throughout the school year to improve the reading skills of their students.

Nothing better than reading a book around the campfire and one of the the many things the teachers are the Kaleva Norman School District did at a recent Family Literacy Night was simulate some campfire reading. This summer the district is gearing up with plenty more activities to encourage the students with their Chill Out With A Book" program.

Nothing better than reading a book around the campfire and one of the the many things the teachers are the Kaleva Norman School District did at a recent Family Literacy Night was simulate some campfire reading. This summer the district is gearing up with plenty more activities to encourage the students with their Chill Out With A Book” program.

However, one problem that occurs for many of those students is they slide backward over the summer months if they are not encouraged to read on their own.

At Brethren Schools, the staff is reminding students that once the weather does get hot they can take part in their “Chill Out With A Book” program. Literacy coach Jennifer Cordes said statistics show that summer reading makes a difference.

“Research shows that students should read at least 10 books over the summer to improve their reading,” said Cordes. “We are going to have open library days and will be holding two a month for June, July and August. We will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on June 20 and 27, July 11 and 25 and Aug. 1 and 8.”

What can’t be beat about this program is the fact that the students can get free transportation to the schools and a free lunch as well.

“A bus will be available to pick up students at the old Wellston and Kaleva elementary schools,” said Cordes. The bus will bring students to KND, and we will have teachers and (high school) student helpers on hand to assist the students.”

Under the Michigan Department of Education’s Meet Up and Eat Up program all students will get the opportunity to get a free lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before being bused back to those two locations.

The students also will have the opportunity to get 10 free books to take home.

“Reading just doesn’t end when the school year does and it’s a continuous thing, so we are promoting the joy of reading,” said Cordes. “Children will also get the opportunity to check out books from the library.”

“We will have computers available because many of them signed up for Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge and they can log their hours of reading, because some don’t have access to a computer at home,” said Cordes. “Some of the classrooms are doing blogging over the summer with their teachers and classmates so they have a chance to get on and write about the books they have been reading.”

The KND summer reading program is being supported by a Manistee County Community Foundation Rotary Education grant of $2,400.

“I was able to purchase more than 400 books with the grant and we went heavy on the informational type books as that seems to be where (state test) scores show we help, ” said Cordes. “So there are books on animals, bugs and the types of things that kids have an interest in during the summer. There also will be chapter books, picture books and even some books that help students with their sight words and phonics.”

Cordes said the grant even covered the purchase of some popsicles to go with the theme of “Chill Out With A Book.”

At Manistee Area Public Schools, literacy coach Ruth Simoneau said they just finished their summer reading celebration that saw them give out 3,000 new books to students in the kindergarten to fifth grade.

“We did two days at Kennedy and two days at Jefferson elementary schools with that program,” said Simoneau.

Students will now have the chance in upcoming months to take part in another program. School officials plan a book exchange from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday on June 13, 27, July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1,8, 15 and 22.

“It is going to be at Kennedy Elementary outside on the lawn,” said Simoneau. “We ask that people bring in books and take books, but if kids show up without books we don’t stop them from getting some. We don’t limit the number they take in the summertime and we find we have regular customers and hope to generate a lot of new ones.”

Simoneau said they also plan to have four free little libraries at various locations around town. The first one will be placed outside Jefferson Elementary School and will be stocked with books.

“We will probably get that set up next week and that will  be free books in this neighborhood at any time, night or day,” said Simoneau. “We will be part of the Free Little Library organization and we will be getting a plaque to signify it. You can go on registry online and use the GPS to find anywhere in the world where they are located.”

Simoneau said what has made their summer reading programs possible is the sponsorship and donations of the Manistee Community Foundation Grant, Manistee Teacher Association, Manistee Educational Support Professionals Association, Jefferson/Kennedy Schools Action Team for Partnerships (ATP), Filer Mill Community Club, Knights of Columbus, Project Read, MAPS Staff Challenge, Manistee United Methodist Church, High Tech Dental and Preferred Therapeutics.

Because of the construction taking place at Onekama Consolidated Schools this year, they will be holding a mobile library this summer. Literacy coach Kelly Lyman said what they have planned should be fun.

“It will be located at the front of the school under the clock,” she said. “The library will be open from 9 to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.”

Lyman said that parents and students are invited to meet under the clock to read and enjoy some book talk.

“Bring your blankets and chairs and spread out around the grassy area next to the clock to read,” said Lyman. “Students can also pick out some books to their liking to take home and read. Each time a student visits the library they will put their name in for  a drawing and four winners will receive $50 in new books for their home libraries.”

More details can be found online at all the school websites or by calling the school offices.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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