Indiana, PA - Indiana County

YMCA to promote summer reading

by EMILY WEBER news@indianagazette.net on May 17, 2013 11:00 AM

The YMCA of Indiana County hopes to combat day campers’ summer learning loss with a new literacy initiative.

Around 300 campers will read several books a week at the YMCA’s summer day camp beginning June 10.

If they read at least 5,000 books by summer’s end, the campers will get to dump buckets of “goo” on the heads of camp directors and staff members, according to Shawn Sebring, the YMCA’s senior program director.

“When kids end the school year, they don’t keep learning,” Sebring said. “Most children regress as much as two or three months. We wanted to do something more, particularly with reading.”

Middle school students will read to the youngest campers from books loaned by Indiana Area School District. Elementary-age campers will be encouraged to read a chapter a day from books loaned by Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s libraries. The Lifesteps mobile library will pick up the books from the libraries and serve as the check-out service for campers.

“The campers will have a big variety to choose from,” Sebring said.

“Lifesteps has been surveying students to see what students are interested in reading, so we have the right variety of books to keep kids interested.”

Sebring hopes to survey parents at the beginning and end of camp to see if the literacy program encourages students to continue to learn over the summer months.

“Just because we’re putting a book in a kid’s hand doesn’t mean they’re going to want to open it,” Sebring said. “We have a number of questions that we’re going to ask about keeping the kids from regressing and hopefully improving their attitude towards reading.”

Registration packets for summer camp are available at the YMCA of Indiana County or online at ycamp.weebly.com/registration.html.

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