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Symmes Valley students share joy of reading

WILLOW WOOD – Helping elementary-age children get caught up on reading is what Ohio Reads is about.

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

WILLOW WOOD – Helping elementary-age children get caught up on reading is what Ohio Reads is about. Now, at one area school, high school students are also lending a hand.

Symmes Valley High School students are part of a tutoring program called Students Taking Action for Literacy. The program is conducted through the school’s Family and Consumer Sciences class and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club.

For the past four years the students have been tutoring children from kindergarten through fourth grade who need some extra help with their classwork.

This year, the students joined forces with Ohio Reads, a state program that brings adult volunteers into schools to read to children who have weak reading skills, or whose parents might not read to them.

"Anytime a parent comes in, or anyone other than the teacher to read to the students, they respond well," said Bob Harris, Symmes Valley Multi-level School principal. "It’s different from what they’re used to, and that’s part of the reason they respond to it."

Ten students are taking part in the tutoring program and 21 are participating in the Ohio Reads program. The students conduct their tutoring sessions during their Family and Consumer Sciences classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They have to make up assignments they might miss because of the tutoring sessions.

Ohio Reads coordinator Carrie Collier said that Symmes Valley is the only high school in the county in which high school students are participating in the Ohio Reads program. The high school’s close proximity to the multi-level school has made this possible.

Student Jennifer Newcomb said that she has seen a difference in the students she tutors.

"The kids enjoy it when I read to them and I enjoy reading to them," she said. "I like it when they laugh at the things I read. "

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Kay Larson said the programs help both the elementary students and the high schoolers as well.

"Proficiency scores and test scores among elementary students are up," Mrs. Larson said. "At the same time, my students are learning to volunteer now. If I can teach them the value of that, they’ll continue to do so after they leave school."