De Pere schools and city recreation department team up for summer reading program


FROM FATHER – Sixth grade student Lila Karlen learned this month about the September 11 attacks on America and the the ensuing war in the Middle East, while improving their reading skills using materials provided by their school district.

Not bad, since it will take more than a month before Lila and thousands of others De Pere Unified School District the students set foot in a school building to start the 2021-22 school year.

Lila, her first-grade sister, Iris, and hundreds of other De Pere children in kindergarten through eighth grade borrowed books and other reading materials not from a school library, but from a park in the city. city ​​or under a canopy in a public parking lot.

De Pere’s 2021-style summer reading program involves a partnership between the school district and the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Books and activities, in plastic bags sorted by grade level, reach students, not the other way around. On Thursday morning, a line of De Pere’s parents drove to a tent-shaped area in the parking lot of Father College, young people in tow. In most cases, the principal of Dickinson Primary School Luc Herlache had greeted the student by name and walked over to the table with books for the student’s grade level just as Mom cut her car’s engine.

“We try to inspire students to love reading, to learn,” said Herlache, director of Dickinson since 2015. “You don’t do that by saying ‘in the summer you MUST read. “”

Research consistently shows that students who read, and voluntarily develop good reading skills and habits, do better in school than their peers who read less often or do not read for pleasure, according to the research. a report in The Guardian.

A study of 17,000 people born in Great Britain in the same week in 1970 found that ‘those who read books frequently by the age of 10 and more than once a week by the age of 16-year-olds had higher test scores than those who read less … reading for pleasure was linked to greater progress in intellectual, vocabulary, spelling and math. … The impact was about four times greater than having a parent with a post-secondary education. “

Herlache and Foxview Middle School director Andy Bradford lead the De Pere program. A key ingredient to its success: educators build relationships with students and foster the relationships they already have.

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Herlache on Thursday recognized a child who was browsing some of the book offerings as a participant in the reading program that will begin kindergarten in September, greeting her by name. At another time of the day he spoke with the grandfather of a student who, knowing the principal’s penchant for fishing, encouraged his granddaughter to “tell Mr. Herlache how many fish you have. got caught ‘last weekend.

Luke Herlache, principal of Dickinson Elementary School, carries a box of books during the Sunny Summer Readers program set-up on July 22, 2021 at De Pere Middle School.

Ben VillarruelSuperintendent De Pere said reading is so essential to a child’s academic success that the school district was unwilling to limit itself to traditional methods of connecting children and books. This gave birth to the idea that the best way to maximize the number of children reading is to be where the children are in the summer and have the books there, rather than relying on the students and their children. parents to visit a school or public library. if they are motivated to read.

It also helps parents that the district has minimized the work of adults helping children or grandchildren with one of the activity kits that the district has put together.

There is no need to search for a rulebook or instruction manual; a parent or older child can point a smartphone at a QR code included in the hardware package and see exactly what he and the kids need to do. If your child wants to try “Hullabaloo” and you don’t know the rules, the QR code is here to save them.

“We love it,” says Laura Karlen, mom of Iris and Lila, of the reading program.

When the children at Legion Park go swimming, when the air temperature reaches 90? Books and an educator or two are there too. Same thing when the children are on a ball field in a city park.

It’s not uncommon, Herlache said, for teachers to see a child cooling off in the pool, then grab a book and his towel and go read under the branches of a nearby tree.

Bentley Benson, 7, is viewing a book he selected for the Sunny Summer Readers program on July 22, 2021, outside of De Pere Middle School.

The college book bundles, assembled with the help of some of the district’s National Honor Society students, are a mix of modern and classic. It wasn’t long Thursday before a De Pere elementary school student became the last American child to be discovered Shel silversteinThe 1964 classic, “The Giving Tree”.

Young people preferring something more contemporary walk away with the story of Pete the Cat, his magic buttons and his latest adventures.

One slow day, says Herlache, thirty books will leave a school in the hands of a child; a busy day could see 75 children walk away with a similar number of books.

Program leaders do not appear to be focused on the numbers, but the numbers are not the focus of the program. The key is for children to read.

To help children read

The school district welcomes donations of children’s books. They can be used smoothly, as long as they are in decent condition, and should be suitable for readers from Kindergarten to Grade 8.

Donations can be dropped off at the appropriate program site on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

If you have any questions, email Andy Bradford of Foxview Intermediate School: [email protected], or call Bradford at 920-337-1036; or Luke Herlache at Dickinson Elementary: [email protected], or 920-337-1027.

Anyone wishing to donate money should email Sales Manager Dawn Foeller at [email protected]

Contact Doug Schneider at 920-431-8333, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @PGDougSchneider


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