Get Troup Reading Infuses Literacy Opportunities Into Summer Camps

Get Troup Reading, in partnership with Troup County School System (TCSS), implemented a new program this year to help prevent the summer slide by infusing children’s camps with literacy opportunities through their EXPAND Summer Literacy Program.

Kim Myers, director of Get Troup Reading, had the idea after learning of a similar program sponsored by the Read Charlotte Foundation in North Carolina. “I thought parts of that program could be successful in Troup County, so I reached out to camps across the county and asked directors if they would be willing to spend 20 to 30 minutes of their camp day on literacy,” said Myers.

Boys & Girls Clubs of West Georgia, Communities in Schools of Georgia in Troup County, William J. Griggs Recreation Center, and Camp Viola all signed on to take part in the program. TCSS provided the funds for materials through the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading (L4GA) Grant, including books, puzzles, literacy games, journals, art, and writing supplies.

Training was provided by Get Troup Reading on how to utilize the materials along with information about the summer reading program for LaGrange Memorial Library, Malcolm Mitchell’s virtual READCamp, and tips from Cox Campus about how to enrich daily interaction with the children.

Approximately 272 students were impacted though the EXPAND program. At Communities in Schools, students logged 26 hours of time spent on literacy activities during the four-week camp.

“The games and puzzles were a big hit,” said Beverly McNair of Boys & Girls Clubs. “I was surprised to learn that so many kids had never put a puzzle together. Some kids missed out on games and puzzles due to being away from school last year and not having these things at home. We look forward to using the materials all year during our after-school Power Hour that’s designed to help kids with homework.”

TCSS also provided funding to Success by 6 to offer a similar program, Summer Play on Wheels, to childcare centers. Gail Gordon, Success By 6 Coordinator at United Way, worked directly with four local childcare centers to provide age-appropriate literacy materials for directors to use over the summer.

Both programs are an example of community partners working together with the school system to meet the needs of students during after-school hours.

“The plan is to continue this partnership with after-school programs next year,” said Myers. “The success of these programs will only grow next summer when the pandemic is hopefully more under control and more children will be participating in programs outside of school.”