Westlake Enrichment Program
Instead of sleeping in this summer, more than 100 students in kindergarten through second grade are hitting the books at Westlake Academy for a summer camp learning experience.
Last week, children from Keller and Northwest school districts began participating in Quest, a three-week summer program sponsored by Community Storehouse that is geared toward addressing a student’s academic needs in an inviting and upbeat environment. This is the sixth year for Quest, which began as a summer reading program and now includes science, music, art, physical education, and fun activities.
“Our main focus is still reading,” said Tracey Hill, Quest Coordinator. “We can’t catch all students up but we want to fill as many learning gaps as we can. We want them to feel confident in their reading and enjoy it, to be lifelong readers.”
Hill said it is important to identify students with literacy gaps early because if you don’t, it gets harder and harder for them to catch up.
“By that time they are so discouraged they shut down,” she said.
Troy Meyer, director of Facilities, Parks and Recreation, said he is excited for Westlake Academy to host this camp for the 4th year.
“I enjoy seeing not only our community, but several communities, come together as a whole to provide these young students the opportunities to hone their skills and be successful in reading, science and math,” Meyer said.
Participants in the program are recommended by their school’s reading teachers. Learning groups consist of a teacher and two reading volunteers, the majority being high school youth, and each group has no more than six students.
To keep the reading experience non-threatening and enjoyable, students read books that are not too hard or too easy and are on the exact level needed for progress. Students get to keep and take home the book they are reading in class which encourages them to continuing reading on their own while allowing them to show-off their new skills to family members.
Parents report that children, who were previously reluctant to working on reading assignments and never looked at books, ask for books and opportunities to read after they finish the program. “We get survey after survey of parents saying, ‘My child enjoys reading now. They can’t wait to read their book,’” Hill said.
The QUEST Enrichment Program is held at Westlake Academy through August 1. More information can be found at www.communitystorehouse.org.