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Planned events, quality time spur summer learning


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 28, 2000

Editor's note: The following is the second part of a question and answer session with Mark Brunner, coordinator of elementary education for the Citrus County School District. The first part of the interview appeared in the May 21 edition of the Times.

Q: What can parents do to encourage children to enjoy reading for pleasure during the summer?

A: The public libraries in our county have many wonderful activities for children and families. These include morning and evening story times, special events and family movie nights. . . . The computers have many software programs that are appropriate for young children and can help promote reading as well as learning.

The Citrus County Parks and Summer Recreation Program provides a variety of fun and learning activities through their summer recreation programs. The program this year will be located at Citrus Springs Middle School, Rock Crusher Elementary and Inverness Primary. (This program runs from June 12 to July 28 from 8 a.m until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a fee involved for participation. For more information, contact Citrus County Parks and Recreation Department at 795-2202.)

The Boys and Girls Club of Citrus County provides field trips, learning and recreational activities throughout the summer. (Their programs run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the summer. For more information, call 341-2507.)

Helping students who have difficulty reading is a high priority for the Citrus County School System. Through Title I and exceptional student education programs, students having difficulty reading or who have learning programs can receive assistance through summer learning programs. These programs begin June 19 and end July 13. They run Monday through Thursday. This summer these programs, although serving students at all Citrus County schools, are centralized at the following schools: Pleasant Grove Elementary, Citrus Springs Elementary, Crystal River Primary and Homosassa Elementary. Transportation is provided.

Students who are in the REACH program during the year are eligible to attend REACH summer camp, which is held at Inverness Primary School in July. Some schools, such as Rock Crusher Elementary, have their school's library open during the summer for the Accelerated Reader Program. Q: What other ways can children learn over the summer?

A: I would be remiss if I did not say that although formal learning and planned activities are an important part of keeping learning alive, learning is an outgrowth of relationships. An opportunity just to be together, whether it is a game of catch, an after-dinner trip to the playground, a walk or bike ride, offers many chances to reconnect with our children. The learning that comes from such spontaneous activities cannot be measured, but it is often the most important learning for children and adults. Sometimes having no agenda, other than a time when parents and children are together, is the best plan for learning in the summer.

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