Select Spots Remain for Haverhill YMCA’s Summer Camp Readers Program

Haverhill students take part in the YMCA Summer Camp Readers Program. (Courtesy photograph)

If you ask Pentucket Lake Principal and early literacy advocate Dianne Connolly, the only slide Haverhill students are going down this summer is one at the playground! Now in its sixth year, the Haverhill YMCA’s Summer Camp Readers Program is getting ready to welcome 60 students for a six-week enrichment program overseen by Haverhill Public Schools elementary teachers.

As Connolly and YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller tell WHAV, the program is offered at no cost to parents of selected students in second through fourth grade who would benefit from a non-traditional learning environment.

“The results of our program are pretty astounding. Kids are able to make significant gains in a six-week program and go back to school really ready to learn,” Fuller tells WHAV.

In the last year, 90 percent of students in the program—funded in part through a grant from the J.F Maddox Foundation—were reading at or above grade level by the conclusion of the six-week program, Fuller said. This compares to 67 percent of similar programs nationwide.

Pentucket Lake Principal Dianne Connolly hangs with young readers. (Courtesy photograph)

As part of this year’s program, selected participants will take part in a full morning of reading instruction, writing practice and self-guided reading at Hunking School before being taken to Camp Tricklin’ Falls in East Kingston, N.H. for the afternoon. All students will return to the Haverhill YMCA for pickup at the conclusion of each day.

Keeping the program unique to Haverhill Public Schools benefits students, Connolly tells WHAV. Families of participating students must also agree to read together for at least 20 minutes every night. Status meetings are also held at the conclusion of the program, with progress reports and surveys filled out and discussed.

“One of the strengths of the program is that the YMCA employs Haverhill Public School teachers. One of the things that is important is that at the end of the program, the teachers meet with every family and they go over the results and share and celebrate those results.”

Spaces are still available for the Summer Readers’ Camp program. For more information or to apply, call the Y at 978-374-0506 x1619.

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