Camp Read-a-Rama: Fully Engaged Literacy Learning

Document Type



Literacy and literacy skill development remain critical concerns in the U.S. “Two of every three students in the U.S. do not have the necessary reading proficiencies to successfully complete grade-level work” (Allington, 2011). Camp Read-a-Rama, a summer day camp in South Carolina for 4- to 11-year-olds, creates innovative programming using children’s literature as the springboard for all camp activities. Activities connect with and reinforce concepts in children’s literature, thereby helping children learn to “live books” and understand connections between their reading and their lives. For six summers (2009–2014), Camp Read-a-Rama has provided fully-engaged, week-long themed literacy immersion experiences that seek to turn “summer slide” into “summer stride.” The purposes of this longitudinal, mixed methods study were: (1) to ascertain the impact of Camp Read-a-Rama’s interventions on helping children develop positive attitudes toward reading; and (2) to determine best practices for literacy skill programming with children in libraries and the communities libraries serve. Findings offer compelling evidence that strategies employed through Camp Read-a-Rama programming positively impacted children’s attitudes toward reading and their interactions with books, a critical step in literacy skill development and improvement. Analysis of parent/guardian evaluations revealed the following emerging themes as perceived impacts of Camp Read-a-Rama programming upon campers: increased love and enthusiasm for reading, improved reading and listening skills, and a belief that camp activities create a deeper understanding of books and vice versa. Findings suggest that integrating literacy skill instruction and programming into LIS curricula could better prepare librarians and LIS professionals to have a greater impact on literacy skill development among the children they serve.

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APA Citation

Martin, M.H. & Copeland, C.A. (2016). Camp Read-a-Rama: Fully engaged literacy learning. [Juried paper for conference presentation]. Annual Conference of the Association for Library and Information Science Education, Boston, MA.