Camp Read S’More

Teachers, PTA members, and volunteers joined together to turn

Pawling Elementary School into Camp Read S’More on April 30.

On Tuesday, April 30, more than thirty students and their families gathered for the first-ever Family Literacy Night at Pawling Elementary School. The evening was a collaborative effort among teachers, administrators, the Pawling PTA, and representatives from the Pawling Library, and the Pawling Recreation Department.

In an effort to promote literacy and the joy of reading, classrooms at Pawling Elementary became the grounds of Camp Read S’More, and students were treated to games and activities, as well as campfire stories and sing-alongs. “Students and families had such a wonderful time at our first-ever Family Literacy Night,” explained PES Principal Debra Kirkhus. Dr. Kirkhus began the evening’s activities with a reading of A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen in front of a paper campfire. “This was a nice collaborative effort between our literacy coach, Janine Garrison, our PTA, and Pawling Elementary School teachers,” she added.

Students were able to venture into different classrooms to take part in a number of activities to promote literacy, including fishing for compound words, bingo, and puppet making. The school’s library was transformed into a nighttime campground complete with tents, and attendees were treated to s’mores in the school cafeteria.

“I am over the moon about the success of the event,” said literacy coach and ELA teacher Janine Garrison. “It was wonderful to see parents, teachers, and readers come together to celebrate why literacy matters. Because this was our first year, we went in with the only expectation being to have fun.”

Representatives from Pawling Library and the Pawling Recreation Department were on hand to join in the fun and promote literacy and community spirit. “The library loved taking part in the inaugural event, and we look forward to watching the program grow and develop in the future,” said Library Children’s Programming Coordinator Neena McBaer, who led a camp song sing-along.

Recreation Director Jessica Dickinson was present to engage visitors in activities and games while promoting the upcoming summer camps in Pawling. “The event was a wonderful initiative,” she said. “I hope to see this grow even more in the years to come. Oftentimes, people separate camp and recreational experiences from language and literacy. I wholeheartedly believe the opposite. There is a strong relationship between the social dynamics that can positively affect reading and writing competence through activities found in the camp setting!”

Camp Read S’More has already received praise from the community. “After lots of positive family feedback, we are definitely going to make this an annual event,” said Garrison.