PARKERSBURG -About a 160 kids are once again taking advantage of the Energy Express program in Wood County this summer.
Jodi Smith, West Virginia University Extension Service and 4-H coordinator for Wood County, said Energy Express combats the "summer slide," or "summer learning loss" by engaging students in literacy over six weeks.
Its a program of West Virginia University Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program. The county's program serves 160 children.
Energy Express is an award-winning, eight-week summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia's rural and low-income communities. Approximately 3,000 children in throughout the state will maintain or gain reading skills through Energy Express this summer. The program is designed to provide learning opportunities and nutrition during the summer months, when children are most at risk for falling behind on reading levels.
This summer, 80 sites across the state are hosting programs. In Wood County, Franklin Elementary, Emerson Elementary, Williamstown Elementary and Martin are conducting programs, allocating slots for 40 children per site.
Students have been spending their mornings reading, writing, participating in recreation and drama activities, and producing art projects all related to children's literature. In addition to books picked by the children, the groups have read some favorites including; "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "Tacky the Penguin," "The Little Pink Pup," "The Junkyard Wonders," "Amazing Grace" and "The Lorax."
"Every child takes home a book they get to keep," Smith said.
Smith said students receive one-on-one reading time everyday with a volunteer.
So far this summer, 18 middle and high school students, four adults and four grandparents have spent mornings assisting with the program at Martin.
In addition to the site supervisor, the program is served by six college students who facilitate activities and train volunteers. The six are serving through AmeriCorps, a national program that challenges Americans to "get things done" for their communities through both direct and indirect service.
Each participant receives breakfast and lunch each day.
The program ends Aug. 2.