Camp Spreads Joy Of Reading Among Third-Graders
The sounds of kids chanting filled the hallways of Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary School as students walked single file to their classrooms.
"T-O-A-D-S. Toads! Toads! Are the best!"
With each passing line, a new chant sounded more clearly.
"Hip-Hop. Hip-hop-hippo," said one group. Another shouted, "Rock-in readers, rock, rock-in readers! Rock-in readers, rock-rock-in readers!"
The goal of the chants -- to produce more spirit and enthusiasm -- was evidently working as children tried to outdo their peers with their noise levels.
But that enthusiasm spilled over into the classrooms as kids got down to the business of the day -- learning how to have fun with reading.
For the 18th year, the Junior League of Tyler put on its Summer Reading Camp. About 200 Tyler ISD third-graders participated in the five-day camp at Jack last week.
Shelley Beaumont, camp co-chairwoman, said a big part of the camp's purpose is to show students that reading, writing and listening can be fun.
"It doesn't have to be all stressful," she said.
Each day, students learned about a book of the day. A guest read the book to the students in a large group at the start of the camp. They then separated into smaller groups and went to different sessions such as art, listening, drama, writing and movement.
There, they participated in activities that were connected to the book of the day.
For the first time, the camp incorporated a new session called community. In that session, students learned about a different community organization daily and completed a project to contribute to that organization's work.
"We're trying to get the kids to learn about how to volunteer with the community," Mrs. Beaumont said.
On Tuesday, the book of the day was "Pigsty" about a little boy who didn't want to clean his room until the pigs that took it over started messing up his stuff.
In the movement class, students formed two lines on different sides of the classroom. At the cue, one student from each side raced to the center of the room where a pile of about 20 pairs of shoes or more sat waiting to be rummaged through.
The students searched for their shoes put them on and raced back to their line to tag the next person. The pile of shoes in the game represented the mess in the room in the "Pigsty" book. As they played, students cheered on their teammates yelling "Go! Go!" and "Come on!"
In the community class, students sat at tables quietly drawing on the back of get well soon cards. The students learned about the Therapet Foundation that day and made cards to give to the organization for people it visits.
"It feels so good to help with other people," Tallon Clemmer, 8, said as she drew a rainbow with a dog inside of it.
Tallon, a Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy student, said her older brother went to reading camp another year and she couldn't wait until it was her turn.
"I feel like it's really special because I get the opportunity to be with friends and be with people that I don't know, but you make friends," Tallon said.
Tatiana Brown, 8, a Griffin Elementary School student, drew a rainbow and an animal on her card.
"It feels kind of fun" to help people, she said, adding that her favorite part of camp is art.
In the camp bookstore, students selected five new books to keep and also the book of the day. By week's end they each had 30 new books to call their own.
Mrs. Beaumont said some students are generous in their selection choosing books for other people such as a sibling or a parent rather than themselves. She said the Junior League doesn't mind that, though, because it just spreads the opportunity.
"We feel you know that we're sending home these 30 books, but it's (not) just one pair of hands that are touching these books," she said. "That book is making an impact on so many people."