Camp Read-a-lot makes summer learning fun

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Camp Read teacher Kelly Klug (left), 36, of Lincoln Park works on reading skills with Lacy Young (second from left), 8, of Lincoln Park; Noah Pepin, 7, of Belleville; and Maddy Shuwaloff, 8, of Southgate, as they sit on a quilt.

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE – Reading at Camp Read-A-Lot is not work like it is at school, Lacy Young, 9, of Lincoln Park said.

“It feels like you’re playing more games than reading but that’s because you’re having fun,” Young, who enters third-grade this fall at Christ the King Lutheran School in Southgate, said.

Games are popular learning tools camp director Kelly Klug, a first grade teacher at Keppen Elementary School in Lincoln Park, uses to make reading fun.

Camp Read-A-Lot, at the Southgate Community Players Corner Playhouse, is designed for children up to sixth grade, with individualized activities on an as-needed basis so students will not miss anything if they go on vacation.

“I am passionate about literacy and feel that this will bridge the gap for kids between school and summer,” Klug said.

After a three-day trial run in her first grade classroom last year, Klug, who tutors during the summer, said she decided to put her ideas into a camp setting for the public for the first time in space rented from SCP. She said it provides parents with affordable reading skills opportunities for their children.

After a first day assessment children go through five activities, Klug said, which include one-on-one and small group time (with two or three children) with a teacher.

Other children may fish for words in a waterless wading pool or create a rainbow with multi-colored flashcards with words they “caught” and learned.

Some play “Bang,” a competitive word game in which points are quickly won and lost.

Many children read to a fellow day camper or listen to a book on CD, Klug said.

Belleville resident Noah Pepin, 7, said he most enjoyed reading about cool sea animals – especially whales – and seeing pictures of them at a reading station.

Pepin, who enters second grade at Christ the King Lutheran School in Southgate this fall, said he has been to the ocean but did not see any of the creatures shown in the book he read. Next week, when he goes to a lake “up north” he knows from reading that he should not expect to see any whales when he looks in the inland lake from his family’s boat.

Pepin enjoys working on his writing folder, which students take home weekly to show their parents, as well, Klug said.

Southgate resident Maddy Shuwaloff, 8, sees the writing folders as a good way to go back and remember what she did at Camp Read-A-Lot.

Shuwaloff, who enters third grade at Christ the King this fall, likes to read books about cats. She said she might curl up and snuggle with her own cat next time she settles in to read.

Children who do not read well should come to Camp Read-A-Lot to get more help, Shuwaloof said, adding that they would have fun playing the reading games.

Klug wants to make sure that parents know Camp Read-A-Lot is available for any child who is struggling with some aspect of reading.

“Every child needs something in a different area,” Klug said. “So it isn’t something where the same thing is going to
work for everybody. That is why this program is… a good thing, because the education part of it is individualized. Each student is going to get what they need.”

Parents, Klug said, need to realize how important reading is for their child to succeed in every school subject.

With its small, non-classroom venue, Camp Read-A-Lot helps children because they can focus on maintaining or building reading skills without competing with science, math and social studies for classroom time, Klug said.

“Camp Read-A-Lot is a good venue for that because it’s still a summer fun activity,” Klug said. “The kids are not even going to realize that they’re reading and learning more… because they’re just going to have a good time.”

Camp Read-A-Lot runs from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 9 at the Southgate Community Players Corner Playhouse, 12671 Dix-Toledo Rd. in Southgate.

To ask questions or enroll at any point, call Klug at (734) 341-0160 or email her at