At every level of the organization, these core values shape our work, our planning, our relationships and our camps:
Goal #1: Review and strengthen struggling students’ literacy and academic skills
Campers rotate through learning centers spending thirty minutes in each center on reading comprehension, creative writing, reading strategies, phonics/encoding/decoding, pleasure reading, and sight words. Working with certified teachers and trained assistants, the campers receive one-on-one and small group instruction that identifies deficiencies and builds their literacy skills in a failure-free setting. Teams of Reading Camp volunteers work to improve and expand literacy instruction at camp. Reading Camp learning centers are based on core content from state school curricula.
Goal #2: Enhance social skills development and other “soft skills” that are predictors of success
Emerging research demonstrates what intuition has told us: conscientiousness, self-control, and ability to process before acting are all predictors of success, both academic and economic. Reading Camp volunteers create a safe space for learning and growing where children are coached to verbalize their feelings, think before acting, calm themselves when frustrated or angry, and to assign themselves consequences for negative behaviors. The methods are non-punitive, allowing campers to take part in their learning, process their emotions in healthy ways and practice new ways of communicating
Goal #3: Prevent/reverse summer learning loss
Summer learning loss is a well-documented problem. Students who do not engage in educational activities during the summer perform worse on fall assessments than they did at the end of the previous school year. Summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income students, who lose more than two months in reading achievement while their classmates make slight gains. More than half of achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
Goal #4: Increase access to academic enrichment opportunities for low-income student
Reading Camp works to close the achievement gap by offering summer learning opportunities geared specifically for the needs of struggling elementary school students. Importantly, the program model incorporates self-confidence building activities with the literacy learning process, helping campers develop a love of reading and learning. Through a network of volunteers in communities across the country, Reading Camp works with school personnel, community groups, and families to identify and enroll struggling students into day or residential Reading Camp programs. Over 90% of the children who enroll in our programs qualify for the federal free/reduced lunch program, and all are at least one grade level behind in reading skills. Reading Camps are offered to qualified applicants at no cost to their families. We seek to enroll children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend camp or review and build their reading skills over the summer.