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Summer reading camp in Pottsville

The goal of the camp is to keep students interested in reading over the summer.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — For one week each summer, Trinity Episcopal Church in Pottsville hosts a reading camp as part of its outreach ministry. The church partners with the school districts in Schuylkill County in an effort to help students who may be behind specifically with reading and writing. 

"The goal of the camp is to try to keep these kids who are struggling readers from losing the skills they've gotten over the school year. Kids who are not good readers have a tendency not to want to read during the summer," said Camp Coordinator Barbara Tokarz.

Counselors say after more than a year of mostly virtual learning, a summer camp focused on reading skills is crucial. 

"We do a lot of hands-on, fun-filled activities and games. One of the kids said, 'this is better than real school because we don't have all of those worksheets,'" Tokarz said.

That is what makes this camp work. The counselors say there is less pressure because there are no tests or grades. So here at camp, reading just feels like fun. 

"When you're reading a book, you can discover things that you never learned before," said first-grader Angel Romeu.

And Angel says he likes to learn new things; in fact, all the kids agree that is their favorite part of being at the camp in Schuylkill County. Because the theme of this year's camp is "bugs," the students are not just working on their reading and writing skills; they are also learning about bugs.

"Bees get pollen and help the world and make honey," fourth-grader Brylee Hylka explained. 

There are 14 kids in this year's camp, kindergarteners through fourth-graders from the Saint Clair and Pottsville School Districts. Blue Mountain freshman Delaney Burns is one of the camp counselors. 

I really like teaching kids and helping kids to learn, and I've always really liked helping them," Burns said. 

On Thursday, the students will take a field trip to the library to sign up for library cards. The last day of camp is on Friday.