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A.G Bell Summer School Literacy Camp

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The Summer Literacy Camp at AG Bell Elementary returned this year, benefiting students at risk of losing their reading skills during summer break. Principal Curtis Anderson sums up the purpose of the program, “We provide struggling and developing young readers with fun and instructionally intensive reading experiences, allowing participants to retain past learning and develop new skills throughout the summer months.”

Lake Washington Schools Foundation helped to fund the Summer Literacy Camp through its Classroom School Enrichment Grant Program. The Camp also received funding from Wal-Mart, Target and Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.

Students who received individualized instruction or participated in summer school programs of limited size (less than 20 students) made greater gains than students in programs with fewer opportunities for individual attention.

In addition, individualized programs may be the most effective in addressing this loss. One of those researchers is this area is Dr. Harris Cooper of Duke University. Dr. Cooper found that when working with younger children, small individualized programs with the freedom to digress from a prescribed curriculum and work at a more leisurely pace yield the best results. (1)

The following video demonstrates how the staff at A.G. Bell Elementary School is implementing these recommendations. Teachers in the video explain how the program has been successful in maintaining steady growth in student learning.

Thanks to Jake Enslein for creating this video.

(1) National Summer Learning Association. , Research in Brief; and Cooper et al, (2000), More Than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Over the Summer Months

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