Guest blog post by Jacob Alfarah, Corporate Communications intern
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a LitCamp end-of-summer celebration at P.S. 257 Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY. LitCamp is a summer learning movement that blends research-based reading and writing lessons with an interactive summer camp approach. During the event, over 200 students participated in engaging activities, such as read-alouds, community-building “campfires,” and “bunk time” for independent reading.
Walking into the P.S. 257 on Monday morning I was reminded of the summer camps I think of so fondly from my years in elementary school. The excitement was visible on the students’ faces as they reunited with friends and giggled over the books they read together.
We know from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report: 6th Edition that 80% of children ages 6–17 agree that summer reading will help them during the school year, and despite conventional wisdom, six in 10 children ages 6–17 agree, “I really enjoy reading books over the summer.”
As the children began to settle in their classrooms for the first portion of the day, I looked over the schedule, mentally making note of all the different rooms I wanted to make sure to visit. In the first classroom I visited I found students sitting in a circle. One student was reading a line out of a book while the rest of the students would sing the line back to the reader. In another classroom, a teacher read aloud to students, and after each sentence she read in English, she would translate into Spanish, a method of helping students participating in the bilingual LitCamps better understand the story. And finally, I visited a classroom that featured students enjoying independent reading time around a paper bonfire—like a real campsite!
As the day wound to a close, the students filed into the auditorium for closing remarks and a special visitor. They heard from Pam Allyn, the creator of LitCamp, who celebrated the student’s summer success. Following Ms. Allyn was Clifford the Big Red Dog! Students jumped out of their seats as he made his way around the auditorium giving out high-fives and hugs.
See coverage of the LitCamp celebration at P.S. 257 in this great clip from News12 Brooklyn.