The White Oak summer program runs from 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM each weekday for approximately 6 weeks. The program starts around the end of June or the first week of July depending on the location of the July 4th holiday. Each student receives direct instruction in basic literacy skills, using an Orton-Gillingham-based approach, in a 1:1 setting. In addition, each student receives instruction in a language-based classroom, for two of three subject areas (Math, Language Arts, Study skills), depending on the student’s needs. The program integrates a common theme each year into the summer classes. The following is a brief description for each component of the program:
A ONE-TO-ONE TUTORIAL focuses on maintaining and improving basic literacy skills. Through the use of an Orton-Gillingham approach, students receive individually-tailored instruction in decoding, oral reading, spelling, reading comprehension and written language. Reading instruction emphasizes phonetic-linguistic patterns found in Leonard Bloomfield’s Let’s Read series, instruction in the basic rules for syllable-identification and division to develop both decoding and encoding skills, and practice in phonemic awareness and sound segmenta-tion. Spelling instruction includes practice spelling phonetic-linguistic patterns and the spelling of common sequence words and sight vocabulary. The study of written expression generally includes sentence and paragraph development, and, with upper level students, may also include essay writing using the five-paragraph essay structure, and the writing of story summaries.
A MATH CLASS focuses on maintaining basic math skills taught during the school year. Instruction for lower school students generally involves practice using the four basic operations with whole numbers. For upper school students who have been introduced to fractions, decimals, and percents, instruction generally involves additional practice with the four basic operations in each of these skill areas. At both levels, the practical application of basic skills is emphasized through hands-on activities.
A STUDY SKILLS CLASS focuses on research skills. Instruction for lower school students generally involves identifying main ideas and details, taking two-column notes, and paragraph writing. By the end of the summer session, these students are generally able, with teacher assistance, to produce a short one-page paper using a teacher-generated scaffold. For upper school students who have had more experience with research, instruction may also include the use of note cards, the completion of an outline structure, practice with the five-paragraph essay format, and the writing of a short research paper. At both levels, topics and materials are taken from either the Social Studies or Science domains, and are generally related to the integrated unit.
A LANGUAGE ARTS CLASS focuses on written expression and literature analysis. Lower school students generally work on sentence structure and paragraph development. Upper level students may be expected to write an essay using the five-paragraph essay format. Literature analysis includes listening to the reading of a short novel or a series of short stories, and classes discussion of the story elements. At the upper levels, students may be asked to complete a story grammar structure and write a short story.
In addition to the class offerings, we offer optional afternoon activities approximately once each week. These trips may include physical activities (hiking, kayaking, biking, swimming), or field trips to sites related to the integrated unit.