Summer reading program to promote school rediness and successful transitions

6/23/2014, 1:16 p.m.
Summer reading engages children with learning activities that promote vocabulary and comprehension.

This summer, The Literacy Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University ExCELL program, in partnership with Richmond Public Schools, the Partnership for Families and Communities in Schools, will expand its unique and effective summer program, “Ocean Adventures.”

The program supports school readiness and successful transition to kindergarten for children with a focus on early language and literacy skill development and parent engagement. Each week, “Ocean Adventures” will feature a different ocean-related topic, using storybooks with engaging learning activities that promote vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Weekly family literacy events and field trips will engage and support parents in providing enhanced learning opportunities at home and in the local community. A unique feature of the five-week program is the co-teaching team of a kindergarten teacher and preschool teacher to support a successful transition to kindergarten.

The Ocean Adventures program will be implemented in specific Richmond communities, targeting children who have no history of formal preschool as well as children needing additional support in critical early literacy skills.

“This innovative summer program gives children an intensive dose of language and literary instruction and provides them with opportunities to become familiar with kindergarten routines,” said Christopher Chin, Ph.D., co-director of The Literacy Institute at VCU and director of the Excellence in Children’s Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL) program.

“In addition, the program provides opportunities for peer learning experiences and allows children who have already attended preschool to serve as role models,” Chin said.

This will be the second year of “Ocean Adventures,” which will run from June 23rd through July 24th and is expected to enroll up to 126 children across seven classrooms in three Richmond elementary schools.

“We know that early childhood education is essential to student achievement in the K-12 academic pipeline,” said Victoria Oakley, Chief Academic Officer of Richmond Public Schools.

The Literacy Institute is a center within VCU’s School of Education. For information or questions about enrollment, please call 804-353-4264, ext. 111 (Northside) or 804-358-1247 (Southside).