Reading Camp Wrap-Up

The kids (and chaperones!) waiting to go into the zoo
Today was the last day of Reading Camp!

For the past three years, my church has held a week-long Reading Camp for rising 3rd graders. These are kids that have trouble with reading, but not enough trouble that they get help at school. They are from the public school system in the city the church is in, which has one of the highest adult illiteracy rates in the state.

We've had varied group sizes, from 11 kids to 20-something.. This year we had 11. They are divided into groups (our theme for the three years has been "Come Safari With Us!") like Zebras, Toucans, Leopards, etc. In the mornings, they spend 30 minutes with their group at six different stations. The stations are things like Writing, Decoding, and Pleasure Reading. My mother and I are in charge of the Phonics station, and most of the stations involve fun games, so it's not as much like school but they are still learning. Then in the afternoons, we go on field trips! We take them swimming after some of them, and we go to places like the zoo, museums, a gem mine, nature center, and of course the library!

Xzavian digging for gems
Bryan showing off his gems!

Barry, after much coaxing, finally feeding the giraffe

The coolest thing about this week that was different from other weeks was the library. The city is building a new, huge library! We always take the kids to the main library branch in town, but this time we all got to put on our hard hats and take a tour of the new, unfinished library. We were probably the first people inside besides the people that are building it, which was really exciting! I don't think it was nearly as exciting for many of the kids as it was for me.. I'm ready to move in when the place opens! It's going to be a really great thing for the city, and it will have so many awesome features! I may never visit the library near me (that I can walk to!) again.
Looking at the blueprints with their hard hats on!

On the second floor of the new library
I think the kids learned a lot this week! Some started out with more skills than others, but I think everyone improved in some area. It's amazing how bright 8-year-olds are. They taught us some stuff too! It's always awesome to have a child explain a concept to you that you think you understand, but that they can word in such a different, cool way. We played a game with blocks of different colors - yellow blocks had beginnings of words, and green blocks had endings. So there are hundreds of word possibilities, and the kids would make whatever words they could find. We would ask them sometimes what the word meant. One little boy, Bryan, put together "f" and "og." I said, do you know what fog is? And he said, yes. It's when the air is all really close together on the ground and it's hard to see through. If someone had asked me that, I would have given a much more boring answer. I don't remember exactly what he said, but that was the general idea. It's like their minds work differently than adults' do, and it's awesome to hear what they think about stuff.

If I weren't so exhausted, I'd want to do another week!

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