TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Literacy should be accessible to everyone anywhere at any age. That's the mission behind a new free virtual summer literacy camp promoting nightly-read-aloud to combat summer reading loss.
"You can always learn new things from every book you read," said Orion Jean.
Books are an opportunity to explore new worlds, gain valuable knowledge and widen one's perspective.
Reading is a right that sadly many don't have access to. Something the Strike at Night Literacy Camp aims to change.
"Spike the conversation about literacy and its importance within desert communities and with all communities," said Jhaneil Thompson, a senior at Florida A&M University.
Research shows that children from low-income households attend fewer overnight camps and fewer vacations. They're also more prone to summer reading loss as they have less access to home libraries, and COVID-19 only compounded the problem.
"During the pandemic, we have been so inundated with technology that we've gotten away with actually holding books and reading books," said Dr. Cheron Davis, an associate professor of Elementary Education at FAMU.
The three-day-long literacy bedtime story camp is held virtually during the Summer.
There are guest readers at this year's camp including Darius Slayton, a Wide Receiver for the New York Giants and Orion Jean a 10-year old philanthropist and author who won the 2020 National Kindness Speech Contest.
"My message was Kindness is awesome and kindness can make the world a better place so why not go out and spread some kindness right now," Jean said.
The books are chosen for cultural relevance and so they encourage discussion with parents the next morning.
Follow-up activities are provided for everyone attending the camp.
"We are really adamant and passionate about the science of reading so we want parents and caregivers and adults to have those tidbits, those strategies that they can implement at home," Dr. Davis said.
Giving kids a way to travel this Summer, without moving their feet.
"Every single kid no matter what your socioeconomic status, no matter where you are in a hospital, whether you are in a foster home, you can actually enjoy a camp because this camp goes everywhere with you," said Dr. Davis.
One of the goals of the camp is to supply kids with at-home libraries. At the end of the camp each night random winners will be chosen to receive free books, but you must be registered to win.