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Frontier College launches free literacy camps in 110 Indigenous communities this summer

“I can keep this book? For real?” The wide-eyed response from an 8-year-old child living in a fly-in First Nations community is not unusual. As the school year draws to an end, access to books and reading opportunities are not part of summer fun for all kids in Canada. Endeavoring to change this is national literacy organization Frontier College. Starting in July, Frontier College will offer free Summer Literacy Camps to 7,500 children aged 5 – 15 in 110 communities across Canada. Frontier College has partnered with Indigenous communities to create programs that support each region’s desire to give their children a fun—and educational—summer. 

The camps, now in their thirteenth year, help children to maintain or build their skills over the summer and reduce summer learning loss, which can occur if children do not use their reading and writing skills between school years. The camps are free to families, and are tailored to each community. Parents, Elders, and community members are invited to join camp counsellors, often local residents themselves, in camp activities. Together they read with children, talk about the stories they’ve shared, and lead the children in literacy-related songs and games. Frontier College will also distribute up to 25,000 new books to campers and communities this summer. For many kids, the highlight of the day is choosing a book to take home.

Research shows that summer learning loss is less common among children who read regularly and have access to enriching programs during the summer months. Frontier College’s data from the camps in 2017 shows that campers spent an average of 60 minutes reading each day and that 98% of parents said their child reads more at home after camp, while 85% of teachers said the camps increased students’ academic readiness.

“Learning to read is critical to a child’s success—both in school and in life. We are pleased that parents and educators in the communities see a marked improvement in the literacy skills of students who attended the Summer Literacy Camps,” says Stephen Faul, President and CEO, Frontier College. “Often, children return to school with a renewed confidence in their ability to read and a new passion for learning. Frontier College is proud to help foster a love of reading and a sense of empowerment through reading.”

Frontier College began offering the Summer Literacy Camps in 2005, following the vision of former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James K. Bartleman. This year, Frontier College will offer Summer Literacy Camps in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon. To date, over 45,000 children and youth have attended camp and created lasting summer memories.

"As part of our new global corporate citizenship platform called The Ready Commitment, TD is excited to support Frontier College Summer Literacy Camps," says Andrea Barrack, VP of Global Corporate Citizenship at TD. "Ensuring children have access to opportunities that support their education throughout the year is crucial to helping students feel confident and ready for their future.”

Summer Literacy Camps are made possible with support from host communities. TD Bank Group is the lead national sponsor, and the camps are also funded by governments, corporate donors, foundations, public sector unions and institutions, and Indigenous communities.
Posted: 6/25/2018 9:19:48 AM by Meredith Roberts

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Literacy is the set of foundational skills that enable an individual “to interpret information, make decision, and solve problems in personal, work, and community life” (Windisch, 2015, p.20)


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