Keep Learning Muscles Flexed
Flashback to six months ago when you would ask your child if he/she had any homework and the response was "no" or "I did it in school."
Parents beware — just because the calendar says its the dog days of summer, doesn't mean the assignments have stopped.
Students across the district are hopefully sitting down to complete their summer reading, math and science packets among other post-June assignments.
The purpose of these packets are to provide reviews and projects to help put a plug in the "summer brain drain."
Reading To Combat Seasonal Learning Loss
In a statewide initiative, the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge was launched back in May at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State Dept. of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and State Librarian Kendall Wiggin.
According to the Connecticut State Department of Education:
- Reading is a gateway skill. It opens the door to all other learning.
- Reading is the processing of information. It requires the student to develop a capacity for conceptual thinking — an ability to think about the nature and significance of things.
- Reading builds language skills. By becoming more familiar with language through reading, students build a rich vocabulary and an ability to express themselves clearly and creatively.
- Reading builds better thinking strategies. Deciphering words, sentences, themes and meaning; concentrating, conceptualizing and visualizing — all these elements of reading are strategies to expand a student’s ability to think.
- Reading is active and disciplined. Students learn to choose what they read and when they read, and they learn to discipline themselves to concentrate on the written.
Back here in Greenwich, summer reading is a requirement that is not meant to feel like work, but instead a pursuit of enjoyment.
According to Fran Kompar, Library/Media Program Coordinator, creating a habit of lifelong reading is the objective.
"Summer is an important time to encourage a habit of reading," advised Kompar. "A child who sees reading as part of a pleasant, relaxing activity is likely to enjoy it," she said.
One of the keys to hooking the reader is appealing to their interests. If children are "encouraged to read widely and choose titles based on their interests," said Kompar, then through the process of "cultivating a priceless lifelong habit, children who enjoy reading, read more which in turn translates into better reading skills."
So what can parents do? "Students and their parents can select from the great titles included on the Greenwich Public Schools summer reading lists — available in eBook format on the Greenwich Public Schools website — or they can check with a public librarian," suggested Kompar. GPS has developed summer reading lists for students that provide a variety of choices from award-winning titles to timeless classics to popular newer titles.
"The Summer Reading program is designed to encourage students to practice this critical skill while enjoying reading as a pastime."
How And Where To Begin:
In addition to checking on the individual school sites:
- For the 2012 GPS Elementary School Summer Reading Program, click here;
- For information on the Middle School Reading Program, click here;
- For the Summer Reading site, click here.
All of the programs focus on choice and variety. Middle School and High school students are being asked to "take notes" on two books that will assist them in writing and talking about the books when school begins.
Even Youngest Greenwich Students Are Reading
Through funding from the Greenwich Alliance for Education, even the youngest students in Greenwich are "reading" this summer. The enchanting "Storymobile" once again visited the classrooms at Greenwich Head Start in a four-week program during July bringing a literacy program to early learners to increase their language skills and get them ready for kindergarten.
This is the fifth year that the Alliance has provided the summer program to the Head Start students as an extension of its school year efforts of providing interactive read-aloud experiences integrating multimedia and bilingual elements into a carefully-designed literacy curriculum.
This summer the kids were each given a book to take home, "Sam Who Never Forgets" by Eve Rice. And, of course, since it is summer, they were also treated to popsicles!
Megan Sweeney, director of Greenwich Head Start, said that the "preschools at Armstrong Court, which include Head Start and the School Readiness classes, really appreciate the services of Greenwich Alliance for Education."
"Their summer visits support the concept that reading is a year round activity," stated Sweeney and gives high praise to presenters Jean Bennett and Gerry Basille. "The way that they present books using props and with high level on enthusiasm for what they are reading really makes reading a fun activity for the children."