Summer tutoring program moves to online platform amid pandemic

Step Up helps students keep up their reading skills over the summer months

A summer tutoring program that has been running for years has been revamped this year to work better under COVID-19 restrictions.

“This year we are tutoring via a video conferencing platform to do our part to socially-distance while still offering tutoring services,” said Step Up program manager Lauren L’Orsa. “We are specializing in reading strategies and fluency practice during half-hour sessions with students.”

Step Up is put on by the Smithers Community Services Association and is for students in Kindergarten through Grade 7.

The program helps students maintain and strengthen their academic skills over the summer.

The tutors provide one-on-one tutoring to target a student’s reading needs.

So far, L’Orsa said the 2020 program is going great.

“The tutors have fully embraced the online format and come up with creative and engaging lessons to help their students practice reading while having fun,” she said. “We are getting great feedback from kids and families once they start the sessions. They have been happy with how the learning is going and kids are excited to see their tutor each session.”

She said it is important to continue learning over the summer months, particularly reading practice and it is especially important during this unique learning year due to missed school attendance during COVID.

“Studies suggest that kids may lose anywhere from 25-50 per cent of their school-year gains in mathematics. Put another way, the average child may lose over two months’ worth of mathematical knowledge over the summer. Children can backtrack in language skills, too.”

L’Orsa explained that summer is a great time to engage with family and friends and seek out any natural learning discussion that come from your surroundings; adventuring outdoors is a great way to do this. Also, reading with your kids and encouraging older kids to read to themselves every day is a great positive impact on students learning.

“Practicing counting and basic math facts will help your child maintain their numeracy skills; card games and board games are a fun way to do this as a family as well,” she said.

She added anyone still interested in signing up their child still has time.

“We still have appointments and bursaries available,” she said. “We have tablets to loan to any students who don’t have devices to use for video conferencing and reading. Please call 250-877-9405 or email amanda.scott@scsa.ca to book.”

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