Rosebank Students Find a Personal Love for Reading This Summer
“Ms. Koishor… are we going to do that camp this summer?!”
This was the question of the school year in Kelly Koishor’s class, a literacy teacher and camp leader at Rosebank Elementary School.
“My students’ excitement is really what made me want to host the camp again,” Koishor said. “Last summer I saw it give them a love of reading and writing that they develop on their own.”
The camp that the Rosebank students were eagerly anticipating was a grant-funded Read to be Ready Camp, a summer camp focused on instructional programs that provide rich reading and writing opportunities for rising first, second and third-grade students. The camp not only gives students access to a multitude of high-quality books at different levels and for different interests, each student also received seven books to add to their own personal libraries at home, continuing the theme of access to rich, high-quality texts even beyond the classroom.
The Read to be Ready camp provides academic enhancement in a more relaxed atmosphere—notably apparent by the indoor tents filled with blankets and pillows where students can be found enjoying books. Instead of a teacher dictating the specifics of the student’s day, they can discover the fun of learning at a more leisurely and independent pace and in a creative environment.
While the schedule on a day-to-day basis was similar with a personal reading session and a guided read-aloud session, each week was founded in a unique and exciting theme for students. One week students were immersed in animal week, complete with a guest ferret; the next – students focused on superheroes, where real-life heroes like firemen and police officers made special visits to the school. The weekly themes even traveled to outer space and students participated in a read-aloud with astronauts from space. Regardless of the weekly focus, the core foundation always remained the same: tap into high-quality reading and encourage imaginative writing through a wide variety of engaging and relevant reading.
“We hope this camp also builds community, self-esteem, tackles fears and teaches the kids how to treat each other,” Koishor said.
While the program is meant to provide a comfortable approach to summer learning, there is also an inherent focus on data-driven instruction and specific growth trends from the students. State-required assessments are given on the first and last weeks of camp to student achievement. Elementary schools can apply for the grant every September; this is the second year that Rosebank has received the funding.
No matter the improvements on the tests, it is clear from students at Rosebank, Read to be Ready has helped students find a love for reading that benefits all of their academic success when the new school year begins.