B'ville reading program a hit

Children shuffled into Linda Kotz's classroom last week hungry for knowledge.

After finishing with snack time, the students gathered around Kotz as she showed them drawings in a picture book. Kotz explained to her class how clever drawings could help create their stories as she showed them the colorful pictures of frogs flying on lily pads.

"Sometimes, when you do your sketches, it can give you ideas for your stories," Kotz said. She then sent the children to their seats to work on their individual pictures and stories.

Kotz's class is the first session of a three-week summer reading and writing camp being offered by the Baldwinsville Central School District. Sponsored by M&T Bank, Seneca Federal Savings & Loan Association and Wegmans, the program is in its 10th year and is free to district parents of students who will be second and third graders in the fall.

"The program provides reinforcement and enrichment in reading and writing," said Kelly Cary, BCSD information officer. "It will refresh and extend skills learned during the school year."

Cary said the morning session is for students who need extra help and the afternoon session is designed as an enrichment experience for children who read at their grade level of above.

Kotz, a second grade teacher at Elden Elementary School, said this was her second year being involved with the program.

"It's just that push to get them back reading," she said, adding that it was just the right time to bridge the children back to the school year.

Kotz and teacher assistant Diane Merriam worked with 16 students in the morning session and 21 students in the afternoon for the week. They began each day with a fun activity until all the children arrived. The group then gathered for a reading activity, followed by a break into smaller reading groups, then snack and a writing activity. Last week they worked on frog poems and facts about frogs, ending each day with a game or song.

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