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Students Get Homework Help At Rye Library

Fourth-grader Ashley Palermo had a question on her science homework that had been bugging her:

“Do beetles eat grass?” she asked, sitting in the children’s section of the Rye Free Reading Room.

Ashley, 9, goes to Midland School and comes to the library four days a week to get help with her homework through the “Teacher in the Library” program. The service offers free tutoring to elementary and middle school students..

“Sometimes they get frustrated working at home,” said Erika Tooraen, a second grade teacher at Midland and one of three teachers working in the program. “The library’s a nice place to get homework done.”

The program runs Monday through Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the school year. It began three weeks after Labor Day and will end two weeks before the last day of classes in the Rye City School District. This year the program ends on June 9.

One teacher is present for each session and the number of students who come is usually less than ten.

“It’s not a huge program, which is good,” said library director Kitty Little. “The students get a lot of individual attention.”

Tooraen said the program is particularly helpful for students who come from households where English is not the first language.

“Some parents can’t help their children with their homework because of a language problem,” said Donna Harvey, manager of Children’s Services at the library.

The program has been around since 1999 and is privately funded through the Auxiliary Board of the Rye Free Reading Room, the Children’s Philanthropy section of the Women’s Club of Rye and parent-teacher organizations of Midland, Milton and Osborn schools.

Ashley said her grades have improved since coming to the program and she likes the teachers.

“They’re awesome,” she said.

For the record, beetles do not eat grass.

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