A Focus on Literacy Downeast

by | May 31, 2023 | News

A color photo of 8 students reading in a school gym

There are a lot of different ways to read on the Mission’s Downeast campus this summer. From a Story Walk to EdGE summer camp, Mission staff have come up with fun ways to keep kids engaged with reading and literacy all summer. 

For the second year, there will be two Story Walks on the Cherryfield campus. A longer walk through the woods on the Mission’s trails starts near the Weald Bethel Community Center. A shorter, more accessible walk will begin at the EdGE Center near the head of the campus. One of the Story Walks will feature Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, a story about a woman who lives in a little house on the coast of Maine who works to make the world more beautiful. The second will be the book, Comiendo el Arcoíris Eating the Rainbow by Patricia Barrera Boyer, about a young bilingual girl who learns about the colorful foods that she can eat on a visit to the supermarket with her grandmother. Each story will include pages in both English and Spanish.  

And that is not the only place kids can work on their reading skills this summer! Students attending EdGE summer camps at D.W. Merritt Elementary School, Milbridge Elementary School, and Rose M. Gaffney Elementary School will all receive books through a summer literacy initiative funded by the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation. “Each camp will have regular sessions where staff will read to the children and lead discussions about the books. The staff that are leading the sessions also work for the elementary schools and have a passion for literacy,” explains EdGE Primary Program Director Isaac Marnik. More than 250 students attend these camps every year, and each child will be able to choose their own books to bring home.  

Finally, for the whole family there are also two Little Free Libraries on the Downeast campus, one outside of the Edge Center at the head of campus and another by Weald Bethel Community Center. Little Free Libraries are free book-sharing boxes where anyone can take a book or share a book. They function on the honor system people can take or add books when they want to. New books for children are routinely added to the library outside of the Edge Center.  

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