The summer slide isn’t as fun as it might sound — it’s when kids lose the vital progress they made during the school year.
Springfield Christian Youth Ministries offers free, faith-based summer reading camps for elementary school students as one way to combat that, Executive Director Faith Bosland said.
Students must read four to six books during summer to retain what they have learned, Bosland said.
“We have a book giveaway where kids can receive free books,” she said. “This is important because 61 percent of students in poverty don’t have access to books.”
Since 2012, Camp Boost has taken place at three sites in the Springfield area — High Street Church of the Nazarene, St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Clifton Avenue Church of God.
This year, 83 kids attended the five-day camp at the High Street Church of the Nazarene and about 40 volunteer teachers and student aids came to work with the kids.
The camp at the High Street Church of the Nazarene has completed its session, but parents can still register their children for either of the two remaining camps. Both camps will begin on July 25 and end on July 29. For more information or to register, go to the youth ministries website at CrushTheOdds.org or call 937-325-6183.
Between 100 and 120 volunteers participate in the three camps each year.
Bosland said they have received high satisfaction and positive feedback from parents and students have reported enjoying the camps.
“When children enjoy reading, they read more,” Bosland said.
Each class is small — 15 students or less — with experienced teachers, she said.
The camps seek to show students that reading doesn’t have to be boring, Risen Christ Lutheran School teacher Heidi Congleton.
“I like the reading,” Horace Mann Elementary School student Aliana Givens said. She who will attend third-grade in the fall.
The camp curriculum was created by Wittenberg University’s Education Program and targets students from any school district. Children are divided into eight classes based on age and each has a different theme.
There is a culture class, a drama class, culinary class and other interactive courses.
“We want kids to have fun learning,” Bosland said. “Learning can be playing.”
The camps run about three to three-and-half hours and breakfasts and lunches are provided.
“We’re not a tutoring program,” Bosland said. “We want to open students to reading.”
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