CAPITAL CITY READING CAMP HELPS CHILDREN IMPROVE SKILLS
The State Journal
By Michal Smith-Mello Published:
The Church of the Ascension’s second annual Capital City Reading Camp helped 19 young participants improve their reading skills in June. The number of participants in the camp nearly doubled from last year.
Students were selected with the help of school counselors and parents. The goal of the reading camp was to help individuals become stronger readers, more engaged students, and, in turn, more active community members.
Campers, second to fourth graders from the Frankfort community, learned new reading strategies and read to each other and to volunteer listeners.
They also read to the reading therapy dog, Avatar. In turn, they listened or read stories with a variety of adult volunteers. Students also kept journals of their experience.
Camp, however, was not all work. Campers swam, played games, rode trains and fed the animals at Heavenly Hilltop Railroad. They made pots at Broadway Clay, and sang along with Ascension’s own “Grandpa Jones,” David Hurt.
They also visited Paul Sawyier Public Library, listened to Patrick Tuck share the sounds of numerous styles of trumpets, toured the Kentucky History Museum and Josephine Sculpture Park, while experiencing the city’s culture.
“Reading Camp is a secular literacy summer camp program that provides a way for partners in the faith community to support and enhance the academic success of students in their communities,” said camp director Rebecca Saager.
The camp’s mission is to promote the personal and academic growth and success of students through informal, summertime educational opportunities.
The participants return to school with new books, backpacks, and journals ready to learn and more excited about reading because their camping experience allowed them to imagine, discover, and build confidence in their reading skills.
Campers will be contacted throughout the school year to follow up on their progress.
Leaders, instructors and volunteers included working and retired professional educators, church staff, and young and old members of the church. Other local churches, including Immanuel Baptist and First United Methodist, contributed to the effort by providing transportation.
Reading Camp began in 2002 as an educational, non-religious ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington and continues to operate under the auspices of the Diocese.
The first camp program was highly successful. News of Reading Camp spread outside of Kentucky, as well, eventually leading to establishment of the Reading Camp Network, which was formally established in 2011.
The Reading Camp Network helps new sites start their camp program, provides continuing education opportunities for leaders, and offers annual conferences for in-person networking, brainstorming, and sharing of best practices.