Summer Camp & Literacy Gains

Posted by: Becca Smith Hill

Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematics over the summer months.  Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains in reading, (Cooper, 1996).

Cocky’s Reading Express event at the USC Horseshoe

Last summer, in order to help combat this summer learning loss, and through a generous grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation, we provided a quality, literacy-based, full-day summer learning program for 32 homeless and impoverished children ages 4-11.

We provided culturally and educationally-enriching activities, including daily literacy-based activities as well as weekly field trips for all children in the program.

We aimed to enhance parental involvement in children’s literacy through monthly Family Literacy Night activities for all families living at St. Lawrence Place.  We aimed to improve the literacy skills of any child in the program age K-3rd grade particularly, who was identified as needing extra literacy tutoring.  We also facilitated maintenance of literacy skills for those children who were deemed at or above grade level at the beginning of the program.

What we accomplished:

  • 32 homeless & impoverished youth ages 4-11, from St. Lawrence Place, The Family Shelter, and the surrounding community were served.
  • 100% of all children served were exposed to literacy-based activities & cultural experiences. 
  • Brockman Elementary teacher volunteers came weekly for 1 hour to provide a “Literacy Power Hour,” including various literacy activities.
  • 76% of youth served attended Art Camp at Columbia Museum of Art. (Those that did not attend were not enrolled in summer camp the week of Art Camp).
  • 16 of 30 children were identified as “below grade level” in reading fluency and/or comprehension on 6/12/2012.   88%, of the remaining children re-tested “at grade level” on 8/8/2012, and thus improved their literacy skills.
  • 14 of 30 children were identified as “at grade level” (or above) in reading fluency and comprehension on 6/12/2012.  93%, of the remaining children re-tested “at grade level” (or above) on 8/8/2012, and thus maintained their literacy skills.
  • 54 volunteers spent over 150 hours tutoring these children one-on-one and leading literacy-based activities over the 10-weeks of summer camp.

Summer Camp 2012

Summer Camp at St. Lawrence Place will again be literacy-focused this summer; the 10-week camp will begin Monday, June 3rd.  If you are interested in volunteering to lead a group activity or regularly read one-on-one with a child, please contact Jessica at 256.3999 or