The Saratoga Sun -

Reading and readiness

Sinclair Refinery aids elementary schools with reading programs and those to familiarize pre-schoolers and their parents with kindergarten routine


Mike Armstrong

Kindergarten teacher Amanda Ruland, standing, greets prospective students and their parents at the Kindergarten Readiness program held Feb. 26 at the Saratoga Elementary School.

Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company has helped bring Book Trust to all elementary grades in the Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD 2) this year.

"Initially, Book Trust started out going only from kindergarten to second grade, but Sinclair volunteered to help have the program go all the way to sixth grade because it was important to them", said Darrin Jennings, principal of Saratoga Elementary.

Book Trust is a program that offers children the opportunity for them to buy books each month. The child is allotted seven dollars to spend on books or book from Scholastic Books.

"The importance of literacy is so important to kids and, although it is still early to make any generalizations, we know it is helping kids be interested in reading," Jennings said. "Plus, I have to say, our staff does an awesome job of getting all the book orders together and putting them in so it all runs smoothly because they believe how important this program is.

Another program Sinclair is helping Saratoga Elementary with is Kindergarten Readiness.

Jennings said Kindergarten Readiness is a program they have done at Saratoga Elementary for several years.

"What it is basically, once a month, we will have a group of parents come in and discuss different topics that help with the development of students-whether it is about social or emotional issues," Jennings said. "We may have our school counselor talk to parents on how to prepare your child to come to kindergarten or maybe an occupational therapist who tells parents motor wise, handwriting or things like that to help a child prepare to come to kindergarten."

Jennings said Sinclair helps by providing supplies for parents to take home after the classes which are run by kindergarten teachers Amanda Ruland and LeAnn Uhling.

"The money Sinclair gives us lets us purchase some pretty cool things," Jennings said. "Whether it is a first aid kit or a notebook for parents to keep all the information they receive. It is all given to the parents."

Jennings said the Saratoga Elementary kindergarten teachers do an excellent job running the program.

"Kindergarten is very different from when I went to school, where I had a snack, a nap time and it was a half day," Jennings said. "Most of our kids leave kindergarten reading, and I mean proficiently, which used to not happen until after first grade."

Jennings said Sinclair gave the funds for all the northern elementary schools in Carbon County which are Saratoga, Hanna, Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow.

"Part of when a child goes to kindergarten, we want the kindergarten student to be ready to come to school, but there is also the learning curve for that first time parent who we want to be as comfortable as possible about sending their child to Saratoga Elementary school."

Jennings said he is expecting 20 kindergartners to come next year and he hopes all the parents of these new students get a chance to utilize the Kindergarten Readiness program which occurs the last Monday of each month.

"This preparation can really make a difference," Jennings concluded.


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