Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Three weeks ago, I found myself sitting in my new apartment with nothing to do. Grad school doesn't begin until late August, all of our boxes were unpacked, and I was without a task. Now I know what you are thinking--that sounds awesome. It was for like three days. But there is only so much unpacking, reading, and watching TV one can do!

I started looking for something to get involved in. I knew that Impact Church of Christ in inner-city Houston has a summer reading program for the kids in the area to continue working on their reading skills throughout the summer. Many of the kids that attend this program come from lower income families with parents that work long hours and don't have a lot of time to read to them. They also come from households where books have to take a backseat on the priority list because the burden of groceries takes precedence.

Impact tries fill in where families may not have the time or money to do so regarding literacy. Children of all ages attending Impact's Vacation Bible School take a small break from the traditional VBS activities to focus on literacy for a little over an hour three days a week.

I had the joy of working with the fifth grade students for the past two weeks. We played a few games, did a few enrichment activities, and read a lot!

Last week, we read a book by Sara Pennypacker called Clementine.

Clementine is an imaginative, creative, artistic 3rd grader with a huge heart. Her creativity and imagination often cause Clementine, and her parents, a great deal of grief. She is constantly in the principals office for her impulsive behavior. Her best friend Margaret is one year older than Clementine and the complete opposite. Margaret is neat, organized, and never gets in trouble.

One day, Margaret gets glue in her hair. Clementine decides that she will help her cut it out. Something goes horribly wrong, and before the two realize what they are doing, Margaret is without any hair. To make her feel better, Clementine cuts all of her hair off too! The story unfolds from there, taking unexpected twists, turns, and trips to the principals office for Clementine.

The story is about unconditional love, friendship, and Clementine having the courage to be herself. The 5th graders loved this book! We took turns reading out loud, brainstorming solutions to Clementines woes, comparing and contrasting Margaret and Clementine, and enjoying this great story!

This week, we talked about different kinds of literature and read a different style each day.

Monday we took a literary journey to Africa! The kids imagined an animal never before discovered that they had come into contact with on an African safari. They described the animal using different adjectives and gave it a clever name. We had a gorilla mixed with a dog, called a Gog. There was a lizard crossed with a butterfly, and dragon mixed with a lion, and other creative animals found deep in the jungles of Africa.

We then read a book of tales from long, long ago in Africa. It was called Misoso (Mi-SAW-SAW)

The kids really got into reading this one. Our goal was to read it like an African storyteller might read it around the campfire.

Tuesday we rapped. Yes, that is right, rapped. You can imagine the 5th graders entertainment with my rapping. We read a book called Yo, Hungry Wolf by David Vozar.

It was a nursery rap about Little Red Rappinghood, The Three Little Pigs, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The kids were anxious to read this one aloud! After reading all three stories, we made up our own rap to the Three Little Pigs. It was hilarious!

And today was poetry.

This is an assortment of children's poetry resembling that of Shel Silverstein. The kids LOVED this! They each read several poems out loud to the entire group. The crazier and sillier, the better.

I had a really great time working with these kids. They were so good and so much fun. Today wrapped it up for this session, but the next session begins on Monday and I am already looking forward to it!


Andrew and Valerie said...

I did a VBS at Impact my Seior year of high school. They kids there wereso neat. I'm glad you have this time to chill out, work on the house, and volunteer. If only we could all be so lucky!

Suzanne said...

Absolutely to the phone date!!!