Research tells us that children’s literacy skills increase with the amount of time they spend reading and listening to stories read aloud. The Free Library of Philadelphia is committed to promoting literacy year-round, but especially in the summertime, when children are at summer camp instead of in the schoolroom. That’s why the Free Library is encouraging summer programs to incorporate literacy into as many activities as possible.
Here are some Free Library resources you can use:
Schedule a visit from a Summer of Wonder Outreach Specialist
Library staff will visit your camp, provide you with our Summer of Wonder passport and library card applications, and even do a fun literacy activity with your campers. To schedule an Outreach Specialist visit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book the FLP Book Bike
Book Bikes provide mobile outreach services to schools, community organizations, and events throughout the city. Pedaled by Free Library staff, Book Bikes can be used to transport materials and will literally bring the library to you! Please send inquiries to email@example.com. (Camps must located be within a 3-mile radius of the two current sites to make a request.)
Schedule The ABC’s of Active Reading Workshop
This free, interactive workshop gives educators and camp counselors useful tips on how to make reading with children more enriching. It also works well for families with children ages birth through 6th grade. Contact Gigi McGraw at Read By 4th to schedule a workshop by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (215) 814-4112.
Register for Ready Rosie
This online resource provides daily activities for adults to do with children ages zero to six. Activities are simple and take only about two minutes per day. Register at www.readyrosie.com/register.
Here are some additional activity ideas to help promote literacy at summer camp:
Have campers bring in books from home to swap for new-to-them books to read over summer break.
Daily Read Aloud
Embed Literacy into Previously Planned Activities
Using an activity that’s already scheduled, plan to incorporate special vocabulary words and bring them up throughout the day. Make sure the words are written down and spelled out for the children for easy recognition in print, too. (Example: At a Basketball camp, you could talk about the trajectory or arc that a ball travels on its way to the hoop.)
If you have the means, purchasing a deck of Scrabble Slam cards provides many ways to incorporate literacy activities into any setting. Click here for some examples of the ways you can use it.
Journaling, Creative Writing, or Drawing
Have the children participate in writing or drawing activities related to the day. Some ideas may include writing about goals for the next day or for the end of summer, prayers for the day, how their day is going, a play, lyrics to a song, poetry, or anything related to the camp’s activities. For more suggestions of different writing formats and how to incorporate drawing, please click here.
Using only performers and their faces, promote a story, repeat readings, and increase fluency by having children stage a play. If there are too many students for the number of parts, turn one character’s lines into a chorus part. Click here for more information on Reader’s Theater and potential scripts. http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/readers-theatre-172.html.
Similar to Reader’s Theater, children can enhance fluency through poetry performance. Choose a poem, number and assign the lines, have the students practice their lines, and then have them perform the poem as a group.
If you have the time and resources, set aside 20 minutes each day for the children to read a book that they have selected for themselves. Try to guide and interact with the children as they read independently, but check that children are reading books on their level. You can confirm each student’s reading level by consulting their end of year report card.
Here are some themed book lists and guides on choosing books for daily read alouds:
Built around specific themes, take a look at this page for book lists on: We Are Family, Courage and Perseverance, Appreciating Diversity, Friendship, Poetry, 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 Read by 4th’s Read & Rise Camps.
Children’s books that you have on hand, borrow from the library, or buy can also be used for daily read alouds. You can contact your local library for suggestions or feel free to choose books that work with the theme of your camp. 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 of Wonder program by checking out www.freelibrary.org/summerreading.