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Primary school open their libararies every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in July

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Juliet Tadema, 4, and her sister, Eliana, 2, explore the book shelves in the Lowrie Primary School library last week as part of the school's open library program during July.So you think school is closed for the summer? Think again.

All this month, Wilsonville’s primary schools are teaming up to ensure that kid have access to learning opportunities this summer. Students are invited to drop by their home school — Boeckman Creek, Boones Ferry or Lowrie — on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. throughout July to access programs like Rosetta Stone, Type to Learn and IXL Math, enjoy a story and, of course, check out books to take home and read.

More than a dozen students and their families gathered at Lowrie’s library last week, where Principal Patrick Meigs and school librarian Kimberley Rhoades were on hand to welcome students for the second summer in a row, helping them find books, use computers and get started on craft projects.

“We opened last summer for four days over the course of the summer,” Meigs said. “This year, the school district was able to create the opportunity for Boeckman Creek, Boones Ferry and Lowrie to be open.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Zaid Bautista, 11, takes part in a craft session with his friend, Tony Calderon, as part of Lowrie Primary School's summer library program. Both boys will be fifth-graders at Lowrie in the fall. The goal, he said, is to keep kids from losing ground academically over the summer months.

“For the most part it’s about how do we create a space where kids can come and keep that brain engaged,” he said.

Before letting students go for the summer, teachers at Lowrie spoke about what they’re calling the “brain drain,” telling kids why it’s important to keep learning even when school is out. Students who give their brains the entire summer off can lose skills and require extensive review sessions before they’re back where they ended the previous year.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Lowrie Primary School PTA President Travis Tadema reads last week with his two daughters, Juliet and Eliana, at Lowrie's summer library program.It’s a lesson that Tyler Tadema, who is “almost 8,” absorbed.

“We have to stop the brain drain,” he said. “When you learn a lot during the school year, during the summer your brain forgets. Then, in the school year, you’re basically in the grade before.”

Even though he had enjoyed second grade, Tyler said he’d prefer to start the 2014-15 school year in third grade, where he belongs.

“It was fun,” he said. “But I want to learn something new.”

Down the road a short distance, students also were enjoying the learning opportunities in Boones Ferry Primary School’s library. The school’s proximity to the district’s CREST Center provided additional opportunities to engage students attending science camps on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“We are delighted to provide an extension to these three CREST camps in the Boones Ferry Library,” Instructional Coordinator Margaret Wattman-Turner said. “As part of these weekly day-long themed camps, each day a different school visits the Boones Ferry library for an hour to have a story time with (teacher) Myrna Salinas ... connected to the week’s theme, as well as some time to work on computers or read a good book.”

Any Boones Ferry student can come by, Wattman-Turner said.

“It is a valuable opportunity to use our facilities to extend learning throughout the summer, helping students not only maintain their skills learned during the school year, but to continue their growth,” she said.

On the other side of town, at Boeckman Creek Primary School, students have some additional opportunities, too.

“We’ve adopted a pretty flexible schedule and worked to provide opportunities for students to think about and investigate new learning around areas of inquiry using technology and non-fiction texts,” School Psychologist/Counselor Zach Deets said. “We’ve also provided opportunities to practice reading with fluency and expression with fiction using a ‘reader’s theater’ approach. We’ve done quite a lot of acting out stories as students practice their reading.”

Boeckman Creek’s proximity to Wilsonville High School offers a special advantage: Julie Etzel, a WHS administrative assistant, helped arrange to have National Honor Society students from the high school volunteer at the primary school.

“These young men and women have read with Boeckman students and provided additional support when we’ve needed it,” Deets said. “They’ve really been a huge help, while also earning hours they need for honor society.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Chase Buchanan, 5, builds with Legos last Wednesday as part of Lowrie Primary School's summer library program for local kids. Taken together, the school libraries’ summer open hours extend a sense of community in Wilsonville.

“As a neighborhood school, it also feels great to open our doors and allow our students to connect with school through the summer. Books on shelves at school are of no use to students at home. Our goal is to get as many books into the hands of as many of our students for as long and as frequently as possible,” Deets said.

“It’s about our school being an opening and welcoming space. We’re all doing great work for kids, and the library being open is a great example of that,” Meigs said.

Of course, the school libraries aren’t the only book sources for Wilsonville’s young readers.

“Our students are encouraged to participate in the fabulous reading and science programs at the Wilsonville Public Library,” Wattman-Turner said. “An open library in the school neighborhood is a bonus for summer learning.”

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
503-636-1281, ext. 112
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