Reading between the lines
Early childhood development is vital in setting kids up for the rest of their lives. That’s why early learning programs, such as reading programs like the ones in which Jayce’s kids Nadine and Chase are enrolled, can become vital resources for the rest of their lives.
At first, I thought a literacy camp would just give Nadine extra practice, but right away, she showed so much improvement. She came home every day with stories about reading books with the volunteers, and I thought, ‘I want my daughter to have this much excitement reading with her mom.’ Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. I was glad to get them—they’ll help me in the future with my two younger children.
When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut.
My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. So, when they were both invited to the camp the following summer, I knew it was the best choice. The camp gave him so much confidence. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him.
Now that I’m a literacy teacher myself, I understand that reading is confidence. That’s why I push for these camps. If any parent has access to them, they need to jump right in with their kids.
Chase and Nadine are now seven and 10; they’re both reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and they talk about what’s going to happen next. When I was first told Nadine was three grades behind in her reading level, I would never have guessed that she and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later.
I can’t fully express what United Way has done for my kids. The positive effects of literacy camp last much longer than the two weeks the kids spend there; the future of my entire family has been positively impacted.