The Colleges of Education and Health and Human Services have formed a partnership with the Aldersgate Retirement Community and the Johnston YMCA to form a summer reading program dedicated to raising reading levels for incoming second and third graders.
The 4 week reading intensive teaching program designed to assist 30-40 second and third graders, is set to take place between July 11 through Aug. 5 at the Aldersgate Retirement Community. The camp is a multistep program with the purpose of raising the reading level of students who are currently struggling with their reading skills.
“They’re rising second and third graders and they are still struggling with reading. We are trying to get them on grade level and get them on target,” said Dean of the College of Education Ellen McIntyre.
Days at the camp are split into different parts. The first part is a research-based reading intensive course. The course has been researched and proven to work for the population of children who will be attending the camp.
“A lot of reading programs across our community are not really research based so that’s one of the things that we’re doing differently,” said McIntyre.
For the second part, members of the Aldersgate Retirement Community will read to the children. The seniors at the community will help guide the children’s learning by reading aloud to them. The kids will practice their reading skills for 2 hours a day before moving onto other activities.
The Johnston YMCA takes over for the second half of the day. The kids will take part in different activities directed by the YMCA like recreational swimming, learning water safety and other recreational activities.
While the camp is focused on helping the students learn, there is a joint effort to train prospective teachers using the program. Graduate students from the College of Education will practice teaching strategies with the community directly under the supervision of UNC Charlotte faculty. The program will also train Charlotte-Mecklenburg teachers.
“We’re hoping that within about 3 years, everybody that graduates from the College of Education with an Elementary or Special Education license to teach has experienced teaching kids directly with this particular population in East Charlotte,” said McIntyre.
Families of the program are also required to get involved if the children are to be allowed to participate. The College of Health and Human Services will hold seminars for the parents on healthy eating and how to buy healthy foods on a budget.
The students selected to participate in the summer camp were chosen earlier in the year. The students were selected from a pool of Charlotte Mecklenburg students who showed signs of struggling after testing in the spring. Once they students were selected, parents were given the options to register for the camp.
The results will be measured over the course of the summer and if the program shows improvement over the years, McIntyre hopes to spread it to the greater Charlotte area.
The summer reading program is funded through donations by UNC Charlotte’s Provost Office of Academic Affairs, ReEmprise and the Winer Family Foundation.