Jump Start program growing
Looking for volunteers as number of students increases
Diane Schrempf is looking for your help.
Schrempf, the Jump Start Coordinator at Bethlehem Central School District, currently has 39 volunteers for 47 students – a number she thinks will top 50 before long.
Jump Start is a reading program designed for students in kindergarten through second grade. It is offered to all students in Bethlehem elementary schools who do not participate in any Academic Intervention Services (AIS) programs.
Students are recommended by their teachers to get a little extra help with their reading skills. With the parents’ permission, the student attends 20 minutes sessions either twice (for kindergarteners) or three times a week (first and second graders).
During the session, they meet with volunteers, one on one, to work on phonics, letter combinations, reading short books or parts of longer books, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary and writing skills.
“Twenty minutes is a good amount of time for a session,” said Schrempf. “Any longer and the kids – especially the younger ones –may lose focus.”
Some students in Jump Start may have excellent reading skills, said Schrempf, but may struggle with reading in front of an individual or group.
“With the older students, Jump Start is a great confidence builder. It really prepares students who may have otherwise good reading skills to get comfortable giving presentations later on in their class work,” said Schrempf. “At the younger level, it’s a great tool for exposing kids to the joy of reading. The progress that a student makes between coming into the program and graduating out of the program is remarkable.”
Integral to that progress are the volunteers, and Schrempf said she could always use more.
“The time and dedication of the volunteers along with the support from the parents, teachers and principals make this a very successful program within Bethlehem School District,” said Schrempf. “Many volunteers also find it very rewarding to see the reading development of each student during their time in the program. These volunteers are an integral part in the students’ discovery of the joy of reading and in some instances, making them lifelong readers.”
If you’re interested in volunteering, Schrempf
will be at the Bethlehem YMCA Volunteer Fair on Thursday, Feb. 2,
from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The YMCA is located at 900 Delaware Ave.
Delmar. You can also email her at
to volunteer or if you have a student that you think may benefit
from the program.
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