Loving Literature

Lit Camp Travels To Love Elementary For Summer

Lit Camp at Love School, a collaboration between Jamestown Public Schools, Jamestown Communtiy Learning Council, the YMCA, the YWCA and the Promise Fund, aims to help children retain their reading skills over the summer. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

Camp at Love Elementary School looks a little different than a typical summer retreat.

While they have “campfires” and other camp-like activities, Lit Camp at Love School is held indoors and focuses mainly on literacy and learning. However, that doesn’t mean the kids don’t have fun.

Instead, students are maintaining their learning over the summer and enjoying the program all at the same time. This is the first year the camp has been held at Love School, and officials say it has been a great success in the five out of six weeks the program has run.

Michele Hoden, site coordinator, said the camp is a collaborative effort between many organizations other than Jamestown Public Schools, including Jamestown Community Learning Council, the YMCA, the YWCA and the Promise Fund.

“The kids are going into first, second, third or fourth grade are in different classrooms,” Hoden said. “The goal is to have the kids retain their reading skills over the summer, and maybe even gain in reading skills so when they get back in September, they haven’t lost over the summer.”

The students are recommended by the teachers, and parents are contacted to sign the children up, she said. The goal is to have 15 students per classroom.

The curriculum comes from Scholastic, but Lit Camp teachers add a variety of activities to engage the students throughout the day. Activities include art projects, and in one case, tree exploration.

Hoden said Beth Strong’s class read a book about trees, which allowed them to go outside and find little branches from the trees. The students then researched what kind of trees grow in the area. Other classes have visited the library and participating in the summer reading program.

“We’re trying to increase that literacy all the way around,” Hoden said. “We don’t want it to be all school and no fun, we want it to be fun.”

Hoden said the teachers have been innovative and involved throughout the first five weeks. In order to support the camp-theme, many teachers have a different kind of “campfire” in their rooms.

Johnna Conti, camp interventionist, said she and other interventionist take the children for 30-minute blocks to work on reading, sight words and comprehension.

“It’s been wonderful,” Conti said. “The materials at Love School have been easily accessible, and we’ve been able to make the copies we need and work together with the other interventionists. The teachers here have been really wonderful.”

Likewise, the students have acclimated to the program and have come in ready to learn, she said.

The program was made possible by funding from The Promise Fund and collaboration by several organizations such as the YMCA, the YWCA and the Jamestown Community Learning Council.