In four weeks, York students have found a love of reading and improved their skills.
The York school district’s summer reading camp for rising third and fourth graders challenged students who were reading under grade level to improve their writing, research and comprehension skills, said Lisa Beck, literacy coach for Jefferson Elementary. The camp ended July 6.
Beck was one of several literacy coaches with the district to teach during the summer program.
“The students grew tremendously,” she said.
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The summer camp is an intensive reading program, Beck said. This year, the district implemented the Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Reading workshop, a reading series with tools and methods designed for specific grade levels.
Beck said the program helps students connect reading skills with their writing skills.
“What you are doing in reading, you pick up in writing and what you are doing in writing, you pick up in your reading,” she said. “They go hand in hand.”
The York school district is providing the series to schools in the 2017-18 school year, Beck said.
“It’s a good program,” she said. “It has a lot of research and data to back up the success.”
The students worked in small groups based on their reading level to learn strategies to overcome tricky or unfamiliar words, Beck said. They also wrote a story about themselves that taught them every aspect of the writing process - from the first draft to the final copy.
Beck said York students were successful with the program, some going up one or two grade levels in their reading. The literacy coaches read aloud to the students and gave them activities to help connect reading, writing and research skills, Beck said.
“They took on the strategies we taught them and were doing it on their own,” Beck said.
York Middle School literacy coach Kela Stewart said she saw students make “huge gains.”
The students also took field trips and celebrated after finishing the book “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) as a group, said Cotton Belt Elementary literacy coach Christal Black.
“A lot of times struggling readers don’t enjoy reading,” Beck said. “We really wanted them to see the joy of reading and try to make it fun ... so they would read more.”
York County’s other school districts also challenged students with fun, educational camps.
Fort Mill Middle School hosted a two-week math camp this summer for rising sixth- through ninth-graders who struggle with math or just want to get ahead, according to the district.
On the last day of math camp, the students determined which local pizza restaurant offers the most cost-effective meal.
“We show the kids that math is fun and applicable to the real world,” said Chad Allen, STEM coordinator for the Fort Mill school district. “The whole purpose is that they leave saying, ‘You know, math isn’t so bad,’ and to help them build confidence going into the next grade level.”
Fort Mill also hosted a summer reading camp lunch and learn, where 162 students from kindergarten through fourth grade came to eat and build their reading skills.
Rock Hill’s York Road Elementary Students held multiple Bulldog B.A.R.K. (Books, Activities, Refreshments and Kickball) events at the Boyd Hall Recreation Center. The next event is July 20, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.