TWO-YEAR-OLD Scout Marchand and her mother, Jodi, of Owosso, participated in the “Books at Bryant – Building Bridges in the Community” after school reading program on Thursday, June 1. More than 100 youngsters and their parents attended the program kick off. The Owosso Public Schools (OPS) are partnering with Baker College of Owosso to offer the program, which will be from 7 to 8 p.m. every Thursday evening through Aug. 17 at Bryant Elementary, 925 Hampton Ave., in Owosso. The free program allows children up to 12 years of age to select one book to take home, and they are treated to ice cream while they read.

The project is being modeled after “Story Time in the Heights,” a community reading program offered in Grand Rapids through Grand Valley State University, and the OPS program originated as a result of trying to prevent the dreaded “summer slide.” Studies have shown that children are more likely to read if they have access to self-selected books in their home. Studies also show that reading six self-selected books outside of school during the summer allows students to maintain their reading levels, while reading 10 to 15 self-selected books during the summer often results in students making reading gains.

Baker College of Owosso students will volunteer every week to help the children select age-appropriate books, serve ice cream, and lead story time. To allow program organizers to gather data regarding reading level progression over the course of the 12-week program, children and parents are asked to fill out entrance and exit surveys.

The books offered through the program are divided into age groups, with children three-years-old and younger choosing from selections that focus on helping young readers identify letters, colors, animals, and words. Four to six-year-old children can choose from selections from such series’ as Amelia Bedelia, Curious George, Berenstain Bears, Pinkalicious, Little Critter, and Pete the Cat. The seven to nine-year-olds can choose from Magic School Bus and Geronimo Stilton books, among others, and the 10 to 12-year-old age group can choose from an assortment of books by author Gary Paulson and the “Yours Truly” series, among many others.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)

“Books at Bryant – Building Bridges in the Community” was last modified: June 12th, 2017 by Karen Elford