This summer, School Union 93 introduced Leaping Literacy, a free summer program.
At the Blue Hill Library, Brooksville Elementary School, Adams School and Witherle Library in Castine, Penobscot Community School and Surry Elementary School, 120 children attended one to three weeks of Leaping Literacy, according to a press release.
The camp combined writing, literature, art, music, movement, science, social studies, math and more to keep kids excited about books and learning about the world around them. With activities and performers working off of the weekly themes of Food, Money, and Gardening, the campers created pottery with the help of Anna Wolf of Wildcard Pottery; learned fun science facts from Tony Sohns, “The Bug Guy;” created art with educator Beth Mitchell; and heard tales and music from Jennifer Armstrong, Jackson Gilman, Hawk Henries, and George Neptune of the Abbe Museum.
Each camper created a writing journal with their own illustrations and artwork, generating the five different kinds of writing taught in the new Common Core State Standards. Each week campers checked out books on their theme and reflected on them in their new journals. The activities encouraged continued use of literature throughout the summer months when so many students experience the “summer slide,” losing a percentage of what they were taught in school the year before.
With two educators in each program, as well as teenaged students as mentors and guides, campers had one-on-one attention as they created poetry, instructional writing, stories, persuasive pieces and informational guides. On each Friday, parents joined students for a ceremony where the campers shared their writings and their favorite camp memories and each child received a certificate, a new book and a camp T-shirt.
This program, created by Union 93’s curriculum coordinator, Rachel Kohrman Ramos, began five years ago as a camp at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Mount Desert Island with the guidance, creativity and efforts of Susan Plimpton, children’s librarian.
Donations from several sources allowed the school union to offer the program free of charge. Donors included the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, the Robert N. Haskell & Gladys M. Stetson Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, Friends of the Blue Hill Public Library, the Davis family Foundation, Title IA Federal Funds, the Clifford Leach Foundation, and the Bar Harbor Bank and Trust.