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Project Summer Stride: Week One

The rising first and second graders eagerly paraded into the library off the activity bus for their first Summer Stride session. Several cheerful volunteers directed them as they walked, skipped, and wiggled with excitement down to the Auditorium to begin their day. The session began with the tutors pairing off with their tutees and beginning the get-to-know-you process. As the tutors and their students eased into the session, it was clear how enthusiastic the students were about learning to read. The tall stack of library books for the pairs to read shrunk smaller as each dyad dove into several books together.

My favorite part of the day, and perhaps the children’s favorite part as well, was when they transitioned to the Storytime Room in the Children’s Room for a puppet show. Before the show, they read a book together about The Highway Rat, stealing the traveling animals’ food, and the students especially loved when the animals got revenge on the rat. The children were captivated by the book, but they were bursting with excitement by the time the puppet show began. They oooo-ed and ahhhh-ed when they opened the doors for the stage of the puppet show and cheered loudly when Freddie the Frog came out to introduce the “Three Little Pigs.” Their enthusiasm for the show was thrilling, as they sang “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” along with the pigs, laughed heartily at the funny parts, and screeched in fear when the wolf came out.

Before they wearily lined up to go back on the bus, the children had the opportunity to pick out two books to start a library at home. The book selection process was a flurry of excitement as the children eagerly chose their books and began leafing through the pages. Their delight for receiving two new books persisted as many read their books on the bus ride home; others fell asleep from the excitement of the day, and I am sure they were dreaming about reading their new books.

Written by Kassie Mae Miller, USC Office of Program Evaluation

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