By Kathy L. Collins

Summer is a fun time for children, but it is also a time when children lose a significant amount of reading readiness. The problem is especially profound for children who struggle to read throughout the school year.

It is for these reasons that last summer the Campo Y initiated “Bridging The Gap.” This is a program free to members of the Y. Children in kindergarten through fifth grade spend one to two hours a week working one on one with a dedicated volunteer. The children practice reading, writing and even learning Spanish.

Last summer’s program was so successful, that it has been expanded to the North Brandon Y this summer.

The program works thanks to kind and generous volunteers such as Amber Brown, a second grade teacher at Mitchell Elementary. Brown said, “It is important for children to maintain their reading over the summer. Over the eight to 10-week summer break, many children slide back in their reading level. Even two days per week helps maintain their level.”

Joan Solomon, a seventh and eighth grade reading teacher at Randall Middle School, also volunteers with the program. Solomon said, “It is really neat starting this young. They can get one on one help. It increases their fluency, comprehension and writing skills.”

Volunteers include teachers, parents and high school students.

Bridging The Gap is a program of the Y’s Social Responsibility Committee. Susan Prestige, owner of Tutoring Club and chair of the Social Responsibility Committee, donated the curriculum material used in Bridging The Gap.

Kavita Marballi with the Y said, “Children who struggle to read get one on one help. We ask the child’s teacher to send a letter outlining the areas they need help.” Marballi said, “I have had parents tell me that because of this program, their child now loves to pick up a book and read.”

Than Htwe’s son attends Bridging The Gap at the Campo Y. Htwe said, “My son is already reading at the first grade level. This program has helped get him ready for school.”

Children meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Campo Y, and on Thursday and Friday from 12 to 1 p.m. at the North Brandon Y.

If you would like to help by donating time or materials for this program, please contact Marballi at 684-1371, ext. 1606.

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