Camp fosters reading in kids

Published on Monday, 23 June 2014 20:24 - Written by Emily Guevara,


Although school is out for the summer, a group of Tyler ISD students spent the week reading and learning.

A record number 194 students registered to participate in the Junior League of Tyler’s Summer Reading Camp at Jack Elementary School. This is the camp’s 20th year.

The participating students, who will enter third grade this fall, are recommended by their teachers to participate in the camp.

The camp features a book of the day that was read by a local celebrity followed by different activity sessions.

Sessions included community, bookstore, art, special activity, movement and drama.

In bookstore, the students pick out five books plus the book of the day to take home and keep. By the end of the week they have a personal library of 30 books.

The purpose of the camp is “just to foster an excitement for reading, and that really carries them through on so many things in their school career and being young adults,” camp co-chairwoman Amalia Wedell said. Allison O’Neal is the other co-chairwoman.

On Wednesday, the book of the day was “A Bad Case of Stripes,” about a girl who is so worried about what other people think of her that she’s going to break out in stripes.

For the special activity that day, students learned about how paramedics and emergency medical technicians treat people in need of medical care.

ETMC paramedic Aaron Goodwin and ETMC emergency medical technician Robert Mott brought an ambulance and demonstrated how they move a stretcher up and down and lift it into the ambulance.

They also taught students about how they treat the patient once they are inside and allowed students to walk through the back of the ambulance and ask questions. The students said they enjoyed the experience.

“It was so fun,” Aryonna Hatton, 8, said. “I (have) never been in one before except one time.”

Kinley Vandecarr, 7, said learning about the ambulance was really cool.

Junior League volunteer Sara Nash, who normally works with high school students, said she enjoys the opportunity to work with younger students at the camp and to see their excitement about getting books.

“They just have (a) different energy that rubs off on you and I enjoy working with the younger kids,” said Ms. Nash, who was the camp’s co-assistant chairwoman.

Ms. Wedell said they schedule the camp early in the summer so the students have the whole summer to get excited about reading.

The Junior League worked with a book vendor to pick out books that would be at the appropriate skill level for the students.

The camp is staffed entirely by Junior League volunteers but also features other visiting community members.

Celebrity guests included Robert E. Lee High School soccer players, representatives from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Meals on Wheels, ETMC emergency personnel, a FRESH by Brookshire’s executive chef and a former rose queen.

The books of the day were: “Justin and the Bully,” “Bad Dog, Marley!” “A Bad Case of Stripes,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Goodnight Rose City.”

This year’s camp sponsors included Capstone College and Career Advising, Core Insights, Bruno’s Pizza and Pasta, Chick-fil-A and Kona Ice.