Students Kyle Dodds, Thomas Carriero, Maria Gismundi; Tutors Keri Brunnhoelzl, Jackie Abate, John Romano, Linda Reed; Students Allyson Berg, Michael Greco, Megan Fuege, Irene Perdomo, Chris Ortiz, Jackie Morrison, Melissa Miranda, Maria Dernelakis, Jacki Rinaldi, Allison Melilli; and Tutor Jessica Johnson.
In response to the new state education assessments, the Levittown School District, this year established a Summer Reading and Math Tutorial, giving students in grades 4-6 an opportunity to work on these skills during the month of July in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Led by teachers Maria Naples and Tom Carriero, 11 tutors spent the month working with two different small groups of students, for two hours apiece, helping them with their reading and math skills. The first group of students met each morning from 8-10, while the second group met from 10 a.m. to noon. Each tutor was assigned two or three students in a group and together the group participated in many educational activities.
The first adventure that the tutorial students embarked upon was a field trip to the library, where each student picked out a novel that they would spend the month reading. The students would spend 10-15 minutes at the end of each session reading their book and then would bring it home to read more. Each student then completed various projects related to the book they were reading. One such project was making story kites, where each student drew a picture of a scene from their novel, wrote about the scene and noted each of the characters who were involved in the scene. In activities such as these students had to not only read the book, but also to comprehend what they were reading enough that they could explain it to others.
Another activity that students worked on, which addressed reading skills, while allowing students to enjoy themselves, was a newspaper scavenger hunt. In this scavenger hunt the students were asked to find particular items in the paper, encouraging reading and at the same time teaching the students how to find things within the newspaper. Students also found articles that interested them within the paper and summarized the articles and shared them with the rest of the students. As a related project students wrote their own newspaper articles having to do with a story they read in class.
Students also created their own educational activities, making up educational games that they were able to play together. Whether it was "Mathopoly" or a spelling game, the students enjoyed playing with the game boards they created themselves.
According to Naples, who laid out the program, it was a very successful summer. The program filled up quickly and motivation and attendance stayed high throughout the month. She also noted that the tutors who were selected to work at the program worked out well. Each one was a graduate of the Levittown School District and was selected following an interview with Naples and a writing and math test.
"We wanted to offer some kind of supplemental program for the summer," said Naples of the program, noting that many of the lessons learned will be fresher in the students' minds when they return to school in September than if they had been away from the skills for the entire summer.