Struggling young readers could benefit from new Steamboat Springs camp | SteamboatToday.com

Struggling young readers could benefit from new Steamboat Springs camp

— Two Steamboat Springs educators with a passion for teaching children to be stronger readers are partnering to offer a new intensive reading camp this summer.

A Different Path to Reading will provide support for students entering third through sixth grades during three five-day morning day camps in July and August. The camps will be particularly beneficial to students who have fallen behind in reading and those who may have a learning disability.

Beth Melton, who, along with Kim Schulz, is running the camp, said the camps would provide a type of reading services not currently offered in Steamboat.

"Kids will have the opportunity to have 2 hours a week of one-on-one tutoring, and the remainder will be a research-based program designed for kids who really struggle to read and write," said Melton, who is also an early learning specialist for Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Both Melton and Schulz are trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, a philosophical strategy particularly effective with dyslexic learners.

In use since the 1930s, the approach is language-based and multi-sensory and focuses on teaching the basics of word formation before the meanings of whole words.

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The instructors had both considered offering some type of intensive reading instruction in the past and decided to partner on the new program after meeting each other in a birthing class.

Schulz, a former teacher who runs Key to Learning tutoring in Steamboat, said she knows of students who currently travel to Denver for camps with the type of intensive support she and Melton plan to offer.

“This camp will be most beneficial for students for whom reading and writing are challenging,” Schulz said. “Our goal is to build skills, confidence and community among our campers.”

Melton said the class will help students who appear to have fallen behind in reading by third grade or after.

"That's when a lot of kids get identified as having a learning disability," Melton said.

Melton said students who struggle to read can feel isolated, and the camps will allow them to find a sense of community and connect with other children.

"It can be really isolating to be a kid who struggles to read, and this can be a network of support," Melton said. "When you give kids some of these skills, and they start to see themselves as being successful, they are so much more motivated."

Camps are scheduled for 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday during the weeks of July 10-14 and 24-28 and Aug. 7-11. Cost is $525 per week, with discounts for multiple weeks.

For more information, visit steamboatreading.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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