Bellefonte Area schools, teachers host summer reading programs to bolster student literacy skills
It’s been a rainy summer in Central Pennsylvania, but Pleasant Gap Elementary School third-grade teacher Trevor Montgomery found a break in the rain on Aug. 2 to meet outside at the school’s playground soon-to-be fourth-graders for a weekly book club. It’s something he started as a teacher at Bellefonte Elementary School, bringing it with him to Pleasant Gap.
Montgomery and about 10 students sat under a small pavilion and discussed the book, “The Lemonade War,” encouraging the students to think outside the box when asked questions about the meaning of the book, lessons one can take away from it and the kinds of things they’d ask the author. Other teachers in the Bellefonte Area School District have been hosting programs to promote student reading during the summer. School libraries offered extended hours for students and families to come in and work on Makerspace kits and summer reading initiatives where they can take Reading Counts quizzes, check out books and spend time reading in the library.
“Just like you have to practice to get better at sports, kids need lots of practice reading to get better at reading,” Benner Elementary School first-grade teacher Kacie Montgomery said. “Students, who don’t read over the summer, tend to lose literacy skills. Students who do read over the summer tend to improve their literacy skills. A lot of teachers reference the ‘summer slide,’ meaning that kids slide backwards or regress over the summer because they are not practicing skills.” Kacie Montgomery and fellow Benner Elementary first-grade teacher Jamie Beard held a reading program this summer with some former students, going into second grade. They have been posting questions on a mobile application called, Seesaw, where the students can respond to the questions in a voice comment, video, picture or text.