Research tells us that the impact on children’s literacy increases with the amount of time they spend reading and listening to stories read aloud. Whether your program is a week or two, or all summer long, literacy can easily be incorporated into many of your camp activities.
If you would like to join Read by 4th in the work to ensure that all children are reading on grade level before 4th grade, please consider including some of the below literacy activities in your camp:
Read Aloud a Book Daily
Embed Literacy into Previously Planned Activities
Plan ahead to use and explain certain vocabulary words that relate to an activity already scheduled. Try to bring these words up throughout the day. Also, make sure the words are written down and spelled out for the children so they will recognize the words in print. (Example: At a Basketball camp, you could talk about the trajectory or arc that a ball travels on the way to the hoop.)
If you have the means to purchase a deck of these cards, this is a great literacy activity. Click here for some ways you can use it.
Journaling or Other Writing or Drawing Activity
Have the kids participate in a writing or drawing activity related to the day. They could write about goals for the next day or for the end of camp, their prayers for the day, how their day went, what they would like to do tomorrow, a play, lyrics to a song, poetry, or anything related to the camp’s activities. For more suggestions of different writing formats, please click here.
Don’t use any costumes, props, or scenery but only the performers and their faces. This is a natural way to promote a story, repeated readings, and fluency. If there are too many students for the number of parts, have one character that is read as a group. For more information on Reader’s Theater and potential scripts, visit: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/readers-theatre-172.html.
Similar to Reader’s Theater, children choose poems and then perform them. This would promote natural re-readings and fluency. Choose a poem, number the lines and assign them, have the students practice their lines, and then perform the poem as a group.
If you have the time and resources, set aside 20 minutes a day for the children to read a book they have selected for themselves. Try to guide and interact with the children as they read independently. It is important that the children read books on their level. A student’s reading level will be listed on their end of year report card. Additionally, all Philadelphia School District students in Kindergarten through Second Grade received a book bundle for summer of books on their level.
For the daily stories read aloud, here is a list of 20 suggested Read Aloud books built around the themes of: We Are Family, Courage and Perseverance, Appreciating Diversity, Friendship, Poetry and Music, and Point of View. You can also find a sample of activities for one of the books here. Next year if your group enjoys this resource, please consider participating in the more in depth summer literacy infusion we offer for camps.
Children’s books that you have on hand, borrow from the library, or buy can all be used. Feel free to choose books that work with the theme of your camp. You can contact your local librarian for suggestions. Also, consider getting a Group/Agency Library Card for daycares, preschools, after school programs, camps, church groups, etc. For more information about how you can get one, please click here.
Finally, please explore the other great resources and activities in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Online Summer Reading program.