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August 27, 2013
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Roseburg first- and second-graders sharpen reading abilities before classes start

Summer is winding down for most Roseburg students. But for a few youngsters, school has been revving up.

Classrooms at four of the school district’s eight elementary schools were abuzz this month with activity as first- and second-graders prepared for the school year.

The Roseburg School District calls it Jumpstart. The two-week program, which concluded Friday, is for students who need to practice reading before the school year begins.

“Teachers have found that many students lose skills during the summer, especially the more fragile learners,” said Jill Weber, administrative coordinator for Roseburg schools.

About 165 students were drawn from the elementary schools with the lowest average household incomes. The schools that qualified for federal funding were Sunnyslope, Eastwood, Winchester, Fullerton IV, Fir Grove and Green. The school district launched the program last summer, but only catered to first-graders. This summer, the program was opened to second-graders, Weber said.

“We try to keep it really small and targeted to students who will benefit the most,” she said.

Kindergartners and first-graders are recommended for Jumpstart based on their reading level at the end of the school year.

The students are assessed and some receive one-on-one attention with teachers and instructional assistants.

“These are skilled teachers who know what their students need and target that,” Weber said.

Fullerton first-grade teacher Delores Forney said students work on learning the alphabet, blending and decoding words, and rhyming and counting syllables. Teachers incorporate movement, sign language, songs and games. Students also win stars and prizes by behaving.

“The most rewarding part of the program is seeing them have a sense of pride in knowing the answers and seeing their growth,” Forney said. “Students have a little more confidence going into the beginning of the year. They join in and participate. They have more confidence to raise their hands.”

Fullerton Principal Katrina Hanson said she noticed the students who participated in the program last year have made “big gains and saw a lot of success.”

“I’m just thankful we have (the program) and am appreciative of the teachers working and the support from the district and parents,” Hanson said.

Fullerton second-grader William Walker, 7, said this is the second summer he’s been in Jumpstart.

“(The program) is helping me to learn stuff before I go to school,” William said.

• Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and jprokop@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Aug 27, 2013 12:34PM Published Aug 28, 2013 05:40PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.