Student enrichment programs support child cognitive and social development, introduce students to new activities and hobbies, and help further develop skills to help support their academic work and success while having fun.
At Minisink Valley, a variety of extracurricular programs are offered in all buildings to support this, including the Intermediate School’s Junior Great Books program, run by math Ellen Holcombe and reading teacher Lisa Alliegro, and offered to select Intermediate School students in Grades 3, 4 and 5.
Junior Great Books programs combine high-quality literature, student-centered discussion, and activities that support reading comprehension, critical thinking, speaking and listening, and writing. As a strong, inquiry-based language arts program, it refines and extends students’ skills in reading, thinking, and communicating. The program is a model of student-centered learning where students work with complex ideas and rigorous texts.
“I think the work is really fun,” said student Tucker Vreeland. “I like reading a lot. I like reading bigger words. If you’re a good reader, then you know what’s going on. The more you learn, the smarter you are.”
The program takes place before school officially begins.
‘We’re all going to be a bit smarter.’
“I have more of an advantage,” said student Brynn Haley. “If we do this before school, we get to have even more reading time. We’re learning about slideshows and robots. We’re all going to be a bit smarter.”
Added Fiona Terpstra: “I’m learning new vocabulary and things I didn’t know before.”
The teachers work with students to balance literary and informational texts; build knowledge in different disciplines; introduce text complexity; focus on evidence in writing; expand vocabulary and more.
“We are so blessed to be able to work with such a creative and hardworking group of students,” said Mrs. Alliegro.
Beyond the fun, students understand how this opportunity can benefit them.
‘…If I can read better, I know I will do better on my essays.’
“In the future, I will have to write giant essays like my brother does,” said Jacob Recknagel. “So, if I can read better, I know I will do better on my essays.”
They even get to use their newfound knowledge to do things like creating and racing little robots.
“The students are all currently engaged in designing various projects that support their learning while having fun interacting with their classmates,” added Mrs. Alliegro. “It’s amazing what these children have been able to come up with.”