New Kent City Summer Camp Uses iPads and Flashcards to Boost Literacy

“It’s awesome,” said third-grader Ryan Lucht, as he finished the day’s three-hour session with a game of Word Bingo on an Apple iPad. Around him other students used the tablets for reading activities, with traditional flash cards and books close at hand. The multi-device approach is a way to engage students used to touch screens and smart phone in innovative ways.

Kent City Elementary School fourth-grade students Jack Munn, Tayler Lucht and Denver Golden show charts creating during Reading Rocks! summer programThe three-week program that meets one week in June, July and August involves about 50 students in four classrooms using iPads for reading and literacy games as well as traditional books. Kent City Community Schools implemented a 1-to 1-iPad program in the high school last year, and now elementary students are piloting iPads during reading and math intervention, practicing reading using interactive e-books and honing skills in core subject areas with educational apps.

Students entering seventh through fifth grade attend the program, funded by U.S. Department of Education Title I dollars. In a small-group setting with a six-to-one student-teacher ratio, they work on vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

Fighting summer reading loss

Kent City Elementary School third-grade Jordan Senkowski and Connor Flegel play reading games on iPads during Reading Rocks! summer programOver the summer months students can experience a decline in reading development because they are away from the classroom and not spending time on literacy activities

“It’s basically maintaining their reading skills so they don’t experience summer reading loss,” said coordinator Jeanette Nelson.

Students who would benefit from an extra boost of reading were invited to attend. They receive 36 hours of direct instruction and receive literacy kits to complete during weeks when camp is not in session. For their hard work, they earn “bucks” to spend at the Reading Rocks store on Thursdays and are entered into a raffle for McDonald’s gift certificates.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


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