During the summer, Frontier College presented 52 Reading Tents, where we engaged over 1200 children and gave away over 1200 books within Metro Vancouver!
The aim of each Reading Tent was to both inspire and nurture a love of reading. Kids often experience summer reading loss
, a drop in literacy levels between school years, which can result in a tougher transition back to school in September. Reading aloud to children and engaging them in books year-round not only increases their success in the classroom, but fosters a love of reading and an expansive imagination. Our Reading Tent locations prioritized underserved communities where free literacy and educational resources are sometimes lacking.
Each Reading Tent included an opening circle, a story read aloud to the participants, a game and/or craft, and ended with participant’s choice of a free book to take home. Our Reading Tent coordinators selected books that highlighted different cultures and abilities, often with themes around social responsibility. This allowed participants to engage in a story about an important issue and then reflect upon the book as a group.
Other great successes of the summer included going zero-waste with our Reading Tents to reduce our environmental impact and promote environmental responsibility.
Another success, which has a highlight for many of the participants, was the integration of a therapy dog at the Reading Tent. The therapy dog gave struggling readers motivation to try reading aloud in the presence of a non-judgemental, loving, and gentle canine spirit. Reading to a dog boosts confidence in hesitant readers and gives children an increased sense of pride. Programs that have incorporated literacy dogs have proven effective in creating a calming, welcoming environment, lowering blood pressure, and providing greater incentive for children to engage with reading.
“Reading that book was hard at first,
but I felt really good afterwards.”
— 9-year old Reading Tent participant,
reading to our new Literacy Dog, Walker
“My favourite thing about the Reading Tent is the cool books we get to pick out…” — Thunderbird Out of School Care Reading Tent participant
We look forward to another great summer in 2018!