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New programs take shape at Redoubt

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2010

At Redoubt Elementary School in Soldotna, educators have high hopes for two new programs initiated this year.

Photo Courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Photo Courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Krista Arthur and students from grades four, five and six read "Down the Yukon."

Pre-kindergarten debuts here this year. The program includes two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Tara Rosin already has a full classroom enrollment of 20 students, with many more on the waiting list.

Ask a sampling of preschoolers about their favorite part of the day, and get ready for a lot of different answers.

Austin Gilstrap talks about interacting with friends, while Kiara Forkner and Gage Trent say singing is a highlight of the day. For Amelia Paret and Aurora Jacobs, the favorite activity involved making jack-o-lanterns. Kaleb Fidai talked about do-a-dot markers and Emma Sanford talked about the turtles. It seems there's something to fit everyone's fancy. The 2 1/2 hours spent in classroom instruction is packed full of learning that engages students holistically at a high level.

Another new program this year is a book club.

"Each year our school chooses a strategic goal of emphasis for instruction. This year our goal is to increase student engagement, and reading is a focal point," said Principal John Pothast. "We want to create a meaningful and fun way to get kids excited about books, and so, we have created a book club."

The book club works like this: Each day grades four through six are placed in groups that pair both reading ability and mixed ages to create a challenging learning opportunity. Grade levels one through three are separate for this first semester but the goal for spring semester is to mix those age groups as well, in order to introduce a new challenge to the learning experience.

Research continually demonstrates the importance of one-on-one reading and this opportunity gives students that chance. Pothast explains that this new opportunity addresses that need and helps to connect kids with books, an important element of literature that is hard to achieve in many instructional classrooms. A quick visit into each classroom finds a room full of students completely captivated in the reading activity.

"It has been very exciting," Pothast said. "Kids can't get enough of it."

This article was provided by Kelly Reisig, spokesperson for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.



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