SOURCE: Frontier College

Frontier College

June 28, 2016 09:00 ET

Frontier College Launches Free Literacy Camps to 7,000 First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Children This Summer

Camps Aim to Help Prevent Summer Learning Loss and Improve School Readiness

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - June 28, 2016) - This July and August, national literacy organization Frontier College, will provide free literacy camps to over 7,000 children and youth in more than 120 Aboriginal communities across Canada. The camps, now in their eleventh year, began in Northern Ontario in an effort to support student success and reduce summer learning loss, which can occur if children do not use their reading and writing skills between school years. This summer, literacy camps will be offered in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Labrador, and Nunavut.

Summer learning loss is most prevalent among students with less regular access to learning and literacy supports outside of school. Research shows that to prevent summer learning loss, younger students should read for a minimum of 15 minutes a day during the summer, while older students should read five or more books over the summer months. Frontier College's research and evaluation data shows that campers spend an average of 51 minutes reading each day and that 80% of teachers and educators noticed positive differences in the attitudes and school performance of students who attended camp last summer.

Frontier College recognizes its responsibility and role in contributing towards efforts at reconciliation as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Final Report and Calls to Action. The Aboriginal Summer Literacy Camps advances a number of the Commission's recommendations, including helping to close the educational attainment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. Through a daily routine of individual and group reading, journaling, games, cooking, arts and crafts, science experiments, and field trips, children aged 5-15 will explore the many ways words, numbers, and ideas are used in their daily lives. Summertime fun and games actually prepares campers for school and life.

Frontier College will also distribute over 25,000 new books to campers and communities this summer. Often, these are the first books campers will bring home to build their personal library. Camp counsellor Jen Squibb recalls, "I remember how one camper went from announcing on the first day of camp, 'I'm not good at reading and I don't like it,' to listening to the storytelling, then reading every other page himself, to reading all by himself, and eventually bringing his favourite book home to read to his little sister. At camp, I feel like books are liberated from the classroom. We read at camp, but we also read on the playground, at the baseball diamond, by the lake, or in a swarm of mosquitoes on a back porch. Books become a source of pleasure and fun, and in this way were better connected to a rich tradition of storytelling that I witnessed in these communities."

The camps will employ over 330 youth, many of whom are hired from the host community. As well, parents, Elders, and community members are invited to participate and share traditional stories, culture and language activities with the children.

Frontier College began offering Aboriginal Summer Literacy Camps in 2005, following the vision of former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James K. Bartleman. To date, over 43,000 children and youth have attended camp and created lasting summer memories. The camp program is funded by governments, corporate donors, foundations, public sector unions and institutions, and Aboriginal communities.

About Frontier College

Frontier College is Canada's leading non-profit literacy organization. Founded in 1899, Frontier College recruits and trains volunteers to deliver literacy programs to children, youth and adults in communities across the country. Frontier College helps Canadians improve their literacy and increase their opportunities. www.frontiercollege.ca

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