About 30 Lake Myrtle and Denham Oaks third-grade students are getting together this summer to participate in Summer Reading Camp S’more, a district-wide summer reading camp.
Camp S’more is designed to develop in these students a love of reading. To do this, each of the four teachers, the literacy coach, instructional media and tech specialists, and school administrators work collaboratively to teach the students from 9:10 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. each day and spend the afternoons planning for what best fits the students’ needs.
Each day is filled with fun activities in classrooms that are decorated to look like anyplace other than school. One classroom has a beach theme and another sports a “Starbooks” coffee-shop theme. In these classrooms, students are taught how to self-select books on their level that interest them.
Kara Smucker, Lake Myrtle's principal, says, “It’s hard for them to commit to books at this stage of reading.” But the students are doing so, and loving it.
Once the students have committed to a book, they learn how to develop responses to their reading. Responses may include sharing the book with a teacher, sharing with a peer, or getting up on a makeshift stage and sharing the book.
The teachers are there to continually work on getting the students to believe in themselves.
“We hope to promote self-efficacy with positive affirmations and self-talk,” Smucker explains.
There is also a technological component involved with the students blogging about their reading. Once a student finds a good fitting book, he or she can blog about it on the school’s website.
They can also take their books between home and school and do the blogging from home.
“I went on after the first day and many students had already started blogging,” Smucker says.
The Summer Reading Camp S’more programs are in place district-wide, with elementary schools pairing up to save on energy costs. The hope is that not only a love of reading will occur, but another big goal of the 21-day program is to help students increase their proficiency in FCAT reading.
The reading camp will continue until July 20.