If you'd like to volunteer with or donate to Reading Camp, be in touch today! Contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mission is to promote the personal and academic growth of at-risk students through summertime educational opportunities and mentoring.
Reading Camp was founded in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington in 2002 to make a positive impact in the lives of children and families in our communities, which encompass one fourth of the poorest counties in the United States. Reading Camps serve 3rd -5th graders who are identified by their teachers as struggling readers, at least one year behind in their reading skills. In the United States, 66% of 4th graders are not proficient in reading and in Kentucky, 64 percent are not proficient in reading. Reaching students at this point in their education is critical because research shows that if a student does not read at grade level by the end of the 4th grade, his or her chances of success in middle school and beyond significantly lessen. Many do not even graduate from high school, which means that their chances of continuing the cycle of poverty for themselves, their children and their communities is very great.
Reading Camp meets the educational, social and emotional needs of children each summer by providing a FREE week of camp. At Reading Camp, each child receives intensive reading instruction geared to his/her needs, participates in groups with other children who share the same struggles, discovers he/she is “smart,” and that reading is possible, and reduces chances of summer learning loss that is so prevalent among low-income, at-risk students. Equally important, children grow socially and emotionally by enjoying experiences that they may not have at home, testing their confidence and abilities and discovering new skills, talents and interests. Most importantly, they develop relationships with adults that teach them trust and discipline, and increase their self-esteem. Reading Camp nourishes a child academically, physically, and emotionally developing children holistically, an experience that is common to children of privilege, but not as common to the children Reading Camp serves.
"When we talk of the millions who are culturally deprived, we refer not to those who do not have access to good libraries, museums [or] the arts, but to those deprived of the words with which everything else is built, the words that open doors.
Children without words are licked before they start. Most of them have never seen their parents read a book or a magazine, or heard words used in other than rudimentary ways related to physical needs and functions.Thus is cultural fallout caused, the vicious cycle of ignorance and poverty reinforced and perpetuated."
We can teach the children that the written word is theirs for the taking. It is not something high on a pedestal, reserved for only a segment of society. Words are theirs. Knowledge is theirs. And once they understand that the words are there for them, not as a trick or a trap, but as an aid and a buoy, they will understand, too, that whatever it is they want or dream is theirs as well. All they must do is open a book.
Sarah Harcourt Watts has taught elementary school for four years and also worked as a Research Associate for the Pluralism Project, a non-profit focused on religious diversity. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Religion from Transylvania University and a Master of Theological Studies in Religious Studies and Education from Harvard Divinity School. Sarah lives with her husband and daughter in Lexington, KY. She has a passion for working to improve the lives of children.
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