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updated: 10/16/2012 5:31 PM

Buffalo Grove students tutor peers in new Literacy Lab

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  • Teacher Kate Glass speaks with students taking part in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.

       Teacher Kate Glass speaks with students taking part in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Tutor Rachel Gross, a junior from Arlington Heights, has a full table in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.

       Tutor Rachel Gross, a junior from Arlington Heights, has a full table in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Freshman Robby Wolf of Buffalo Grove finds transitions in a paper written by a classmate with tutor Katie Geraghty, a junior from Arlington Heights, in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.

       Freshman Robby Wolf of Buffalo Grove finds transitions in a paper written by a classmate with tutor Katie Geraghty, a junior from Arlington Heights, in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School. The new program involves student tutors working with their peers to help make them better writers.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • The keep things light and informal, tutors working in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School, like Alexandra Anderson, wear goggles and lab coats.

       The keep things light and informal, tutors working in the Literacy Lab at Buffalo Grove High School, like Alexandra Anderson, wear goggles and lab coats.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

 
 

Student tutors at Buffalo Grove High School are helping their peers improve their writing skills outside the traditional English curriculum, focusing on literacy across all subjects through a new program launched this year.

The Literacy Lab, started by teachers Heidi Haen and Kate Glass, is a classroom in the library where students can come for help with writing projects ranging from menu descriptions for a foods class to a lab report for science.

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"The idea is to give students strategies they can use across the curriculum," Haen said.

Tutors help give students the tools they need for understanding word problems in math, taking notes in humanities classes and everything in between.

Glass said many high schools have writing labs, but Buffalo Grove's lab is different because it focuses on the connection between reading and writing.

"We're trying to get them to think about what good writing looks like," she said.

The teachers hope the lab shows students that they will need writing no matter what career path they choose.

More than 90 juniors and seniors work as tutors in the lab, which is fully equipped with lab coats and glasses to lighten the mood. The tutors, who were recommended for the program by their teachers, spend their study hall periods helping their peers.

"I love writing. I like helping others become better writers, but you're still learning yourself," said Sarah Ziegler, a junior from Buffalo Grove.

Organizers said the lab has been successful so far, seeing as many as 200 students in a day. Haen and Glass said they might even need to expand beyond one classroom soon because of such high interest from students.

"It's exciting to see how much the staff and students have embraced this," Haen said.

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