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A team of seven instructors is working to help readers in the Moffat County School District this summer.

Funded by a federal grant, students are learning reading fundamentals through a class entitled the Summer Reading Lab. This is the first year Moffat County has offered this type of reading program.

"By doing research, we came up with recommendations as to what we feel we need to include in the literary program in the Moffat County School District," Janele Walton, Moffat County School District elementary reading monitor, said. "We are doing a lot of different things to help readers."

Janet Bohart, Moffat County School District director of curriculum and staff development, said there are two main reasons behind the Summer Reading Lab.

The first is staff development. Teachers work together to come up with a model, she said.

Teachers will share summer experiences with other staff members during the school year. The seven teachers in the Summer Reading Lab are staff members from first grade through high school.

The other goal is to help the students, who study one-and-a-half hours per day, four days per week for four-weeks. There are three sections of students, broken down by grade level.

"We want to develop readers and keep them reading through the summer," Bohart said. "This is one of the most positive things I have been a part of. There is lots of excitement from both teachers and students. It is an excellent opportunity for growth."

Interaction is stressed during the program, Walton said. Interactive activities include vocabulary development, phonics, writing, fluency and reading strategies.

"With these strategies, we work on background knowledge of the story and making predictions to retell the main ideas," Walton said. "This is a wonderful development opportunity. [Instructors] learn literacy development from the students and students learn a lot from the proficient instructors."

The results?

"We have really seen a lot of growth. [Students] are more willing and engaged in reading," Walton said. "Their attitude as well seems to have blossomed."

Bohart said school principals and other members of the district administrative team will be pleased with the progress.

"It is really fun to watch," Bohart said.

Because of the success this summer, there is a good possibility grant money will be awarded for the program for the 2001 summer.

"The money is available next year and we hope to duplicate the program," Bohart said.

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