West Linn-Wilsonville primary students sat tucked away in a classroom nook or slouched on a chair, head down, engrossed in their favorite book.
The students were four days into the districtwide summer reading program — a free program for grades 3-5 that allows students to continue to develop their reading skills outside of the school year.
For the second year, the summer reading program has about 190 students from all nine WL-WV primary schools. In previous years, the program fluctuated and was not as comprehensive and fully attended as the last two years.
"It's a great opportunity for kids to come and continue the learning they had during the school year," said Kelly Rogers, who is also helping coordinate the summer reading program with Elisa Lee, the district's dual-language coordinator. "It's not just sitting and reading; it really is an extension of lessons you would see in place at primary school."
The program started June 17 and will last for three weeks.
Students are bussed from their own primary schools and spend almost four hours in the morning at Boones Ferry Primary.
"We still follow the format of the readers workshop where the teacher presents a mini-lesson — a reading skill she really wants to focus for that day and she models it through her mini-lesson and then students practice that specific strategy," Lee said. "They come back and have a little debrief, time to talk about how that strategy helped them and then they go write about it to further their thinking and comprehension on the book they were reading."
The program currently meets different students' needs. New this year are two classrooms dedicated to supporting dual-language students and Lowrie Primary has donated several Spanish books.
Students are separated by grade level and WL-WV teachers lead the program with help from instructional assistants and learning specialists.
WL-WV Communications Director Andrew Kilstrom said he appreciates that students from all district primary schools are represented.
"Students get a chance to maybe meet some peers from other schools that they wouldn't otherwise and maybe make some cross city connections too," he said. "It's kind of neat from that standpoint."
Though the program is not offered to students below third grade, Lee and Rogers said it is a goal, but would be a challenging endeavor.
"My hat goes off to the school district for funding such a comprehensive program," Rogers said. "It's a major undertaking, getting all the kids here from their home schools and getting them back to their home schools. ... If you go into the classrooms, the kids are engaged in learning and it's really just a wonderful opportunity so I'm proud to be a part of it and really proud to be associated with the great staff that's working hard."
Lee said one of her favorite aspects of the program is the sense of community that is built within the classrooms.
"I think that's the part I really love about summer school, just all of the nice schools coming together and building this great community for these three weeks," Lee said.
"There's a lot of joy in it," added Rogers.
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