Summer Literacy Camp Pairs Fun & Reading For Local Children

When students struggle to read, reading itself can become a chore — something to be resisted instead of enjoyed.

That’s why the Pacific University College of Education had fun in mind when it set out to offer summer literacy assistance to local children.

The college’s two schools — the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders and the School of Learning & Teaching — teamed up to offer a four-week camp for 14 children. Staffed by Pacific faculty, along with college students studying to become teachers and speech-language pathologists, the camp provided literacy skills in a context of creativity and activity.

“Our graduate students are placed in school settings,” said Dr. Gayatri Ram, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders. “Because of the shortage of time they get to spend with each of the kids, their therapy approaches are very structured. Somewhere I thought, ‘Are kids missing out on the creativity spark when they are thinking of reading and writing and language? Can we do something to change that?’”

The camp included visits to the local library, dramatic performances and music, as well as field trips, including to the Oregon Zoo.

“We infuse it with fun,” said Dr. Eurvine Williams, assistant professor in the School of Learning & Teaching. “We create opportunities to play and to have fun while reading.”

The camp also served as a real-world learning experience for Pacific students, who were tasked with creating enriching learning opportunities for their students and working collaboratively across fields.

The results?

“There were kids who came in who refused to read,” Williams said. “The parents are reporting that kids are asking to read in the evenings. That had not happened before.”

Aug. 26, 2016