College summer book program benefits local children in need of reading boost

Child reading a book with an adult

As local children count down the final days of classes, Marietta College’s Education Department is busy creating and delivering Summer Reading Adventure Packs to partner elementary schools to help get books and reading activities into the hands of certain students before they leave for summer break. 

The 300 packs will be given to children whose principals and teachers think may need extra literacy support.

“Marietta College is excited to support surrounding partnership schools with literature and activities within our summer book packs,” said Dr. Amanda Rider, Assistant Professor of Education. “The packs are intended to further engage students in literature over the summer, so they are better prepared for next fall.”

The backpack program was made possible with support from the Marietta Morning Rotary Club, Marietta Community Foundation and the Martha Jennings Holden Foundation. Typically, Marietta College’s Education Department would be gearing up for in-person S.T.R.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math) Camp, which is open to all children entering kindergarten through sixth grade the following Fall. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the camp’s cancellation this and last summer, which is why the Education Department transitioned to the backpack program. Last summer, the program served 160 children.

Program Director and Assistant Professor of Education, Dr. Raven Cromwell, said Marietta College Education majors put together the backpacks, which are filled with high-interest fiction and nonfiction books, activities and supplies.

Cromwell has provided sites that serve as good resources for books that may be of interest to children in various age groups:

International Literacy Association (ILA) Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards
https://www.literacyworldwide.org/about-us/awards-grants/ila-children's-and-young-adults'-book-awards

ILA & Children’s Book Council Children's Choices 2020
https://literacyworldwide.org/get-resources/reading-lists/childrens-choices-reading-list

Printz Award 
http://www.ala.org/yalsa/printz
(Honors books written for teens)

Outstanding International Books by The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)
Introduce wonderful international books to children in the United States
https://www.usbby.org/outstanding-international-books-list.html

“Other resources include Newbery, Giesel (early readers), Siebert (NF), Coretta Scot King (African American), Pura Belpre (Latino/Latina), Stonewall Book Award (LGBTQIA+), and Schneider Family Book Award (disability),” Cromwell says.

For more information about the Summer Reading Adventure Packs, visit https://www.mcstreamcamp.com/reading-adventure-packs.