Camp aims to strengthen kids' reading skills
HUNTINGTON -- Learning to read is the cornerstone of a person's education. Following learning to read, people read to learn. When a child struggles to learn to read, they are behind from the beginning.
St. John's Episcopal Church is trying to help children overcome those struggles with its Summer Reading Camp, which began Monday and continues through Friday.
During the camp, second- through fourth-grade students reinforce their reading skills while learning the enjoyment of reading through fun activities
"We know across the nation children are struggling to learn how to read," Susan Thomas Frank, camp co-director, said. "It crosses socio-economic levels, parent education levels, and we know that children in poverty suffer more."
Frank said the camp targets students who are now being expected to read to learn, but still haven't mastered reading.
The week is all about making reading fun and enjoyable through six different stations that work on phonics and reading skills, and afternoon field trips. Some activities include independent reading to animals such as dogs, guinea pigs and a hairless rat, listening to children's author Colleen Anderson and engaging in creative writing. In the afternoon, campers continue to learn through trips to places such as the Huntington Museum of Art and Beech Fork State Park.
"The point is to not make reading boring for kids or else they won't have any interest in reading," said Pete Proctor, sophomore at Huntington High School and camp counselor.
Students are taught by trained teachers and speech pathologists.
The camp was started by the Episcopal Diocese in Lexington, Kentucky, as an outreach program. This was the second year for the camp in Huntington. Last year, 20 students attended the camp, and 27 attended this year. Frank said 10 students returned, and the counselors have been blown away by their progress.
Abby Humphreys, sophomore at West Virginia University and camp counselor, said she wanted to share her own love of reading with the campers.
"I want to give someone that gift -- the gift of 'Harry Potter.' The gift of 'Lord of the Rings,'" Humphreys said.
The camp is free for all accepted campers and finishes up Friday.
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