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Reading program prevents summer slide
  • Updated

A teen volunteer helps young child with pronunciation of a difficult word during a Catholic Charities summer reading camp at Casa San Juan Bosco Farmworker Housing in Arcadia on June 24, 2021.

A teen volunteer reads a pop-up book for young children during a Catholic Charities summer reading camp at Casa San Juan Bosco Farmworker Housing in Arcadia on June 24, 2021.

Arcadia  |  Summer is a time when young children take time to play games outside, go swimming, and generally do everything fun they feel they missed while in school.

This break from school can cause serious problems for younger elementary-aged children, as they can quickly lose reading and language skills gained during the previous year in what is known as the “summer slide.”

Following an academic year when many students spent time remotely learning due to the global Pandemic, the risk of losing any skills is viewed as greater than ever.

To help prevent the “summer slide,” Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. has partnered with the Patterson Foundation to participate in the “2021 Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge – The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.”

The Reading Challenge is a community-wide effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties to help children, especially those from low-income families, succeed in school and in life by ensuring they read at grade level by the end of third grade.

This is taking place at the Catholic Charities Casa San Juan Bosco Farmworker Housing community in Acadia where nearly 30 children are participating in a half-day summer camp focused on reading.

Clara Alvarez, who directs the Casa San Juan Bosco Educational Programs, said the partnership with the Patterson Foundation has helped bring in resources (books, teaching and learning guides) which allow the camp to succeed.

Teen volunteers help their young charges in all aspects of reading, including definitions, pronunciation and word usage in a way that is both supportive and fun.

“For the younger children just having someone read to them is a big help,” Alvarez explained. “For the older children it is about encouraging them to read aloud and without support.”

Many of the students are from bilingual families where English is not always the primary language spoken in the household, therefore the Catholic Charities camp serves as an important opportunity to develop their English skills which are needed to succeed in school.

All books are age-appropriate with the younger children using pop-up books while the older children have books with lots of pictures. As the students advance to the next level they read books with more developed themes and far fewer pictures. For the oldest children, shared reading or solo reading is more common.

For example, a group of four-year-old children sat in spellbound attention as they learned about a train as a teen volunteer read a pop-up book to them. Nearby another teen told a silly story based upon a group of words chosen at random as this effort drew uproarious laughter.

Meanwhile, in the next room, a group of older children read “Make Way for Ducklings,” a children’s picture book by Robert McCloskey while an older group read and alternately discussed “Flora and Ulysses,” an illustrated children’s novel by Kate DiCamillo with 231 pages.

After each book, the children discuss what they learned, sometimes drawing an image from the book or writing a synopsis into a reading journal they each keep which logs all of the books they read but provides room to share what they learned. The younger children receive repeated lessons on vocabulary.

As could be observed with some of the children at Casa San Juan Bosco, the summer camp is helping to develop avid readers with some children filling their logs with dozens of books read during the camp and at home.

One young girl was eager to fill out her log, 20 books by the end of the second week, and asked to take two more books home. “I can’t wait to read what’s next,” she exclaimed.

A nearby boy, a burgeoning artist, created an elaborate illustration that rivaled the book he just completed. With a big smile, he shared his colorful rending with the whole group.

All of this helps to develop multiple skills beyond reading, including understanding complex stories or themes, improving comprehension, and bolstering confidence in written, verbal and artistic abilities.

“It is great to see how excited they get when they get into a new book and start a new adventure,” Alvarez said.

To learn more about the summer camp and all of the programs of Catholic Charities offered within the Diocese of Venice visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.

News Briefs - July 16
  • Updated

Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal

Every day, Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice serves the most vulnerable population by feeding, housing, empowering, and striving to help those in need. This summer, you can leave your footprint by helping your neighbors. The Catholic Charities Summertime and the Giving is Easy Appeal is asking for your support. You can donate to the type of assistance you believe is important, such as food, shelter, education or other support. Your gift will make a positive impact for the less fortunate. Visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org or mail a check to Catholic Charities,1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285.

St. Joseph course available online

The Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation invites you to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph with a self-paced online course “Encountering St. Joseph with St. John Paul II and Pope Francis.” The class covers John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation on the Person and Mission of St Joseph (Redemptoris Custos) and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on St Joseph (Patris Corde). This course can be taken individually or in a group. Start the course anytime and proceed at your own pace as it includes short, pre-recorded videos, questions for personal reflection or group discussion, recommended resources and more. Course fee: $35. For information and registration visit https://institute-dov.org/ or call 941-766-7334.

OLPH Retreat Center fall schedule published

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Retreat and Spirituality Center in Venice has published their Fall 2021 Group Retreat Schedule. The schedule includes a Men’s Retreat in October, Ignatian Preached Retreat in November, and Advent Retreat in December. The schedule for the Monthly Day of Prayer, held second Sundays and Wednesdays starting in September, has also been published. See the Schedule of Events page on www.olph-retreat.org for more information and to register. Call 941-486-0233.

New Catholic Institute course beginning soon

The Institute for Catholic Studies and Formation is offering a 16-week graduate level online course starting Aug. 24 that introduces students to the principles, practices and sources of Catholic Theology. The course “What is Catholic Theology? (Ecclesial Nature and Mission of Theology)” counts as a pre-requisite for those beginning the online masters’s degree in theology and Christian ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville, which offers Diocese of Venice students discounted tuition for this online degree.

This course is also available to those who wish to attend for their own personal enrichment. For cost and other information and to register for the course, visit the Institute website at https://institute-dov.org/ or call 941-766-7334.

College scholarships available

Catholic Life Insurance, which offers two scholarships worth $2,000 each through the Rev. Msgr. Larry J. Droll Scholarship Fund, is accepting applications. The scholarship assists Catholic laity pursuing graduate degrees that will help them qualify for professional positions in Parish and Diocesan Ministry. Scholarships will be awarded to practicing Catholics with a bachelor’s degree enrolled in Catholic graduate schools of theology or religious studies. The school and the student must be a resident of one of the following states: Texas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Deadline to apply is Sept. 13. For an application visit https://www.cliu.com/giving-back/faith-based-scholarships/msgr-droll-scholarship-for-catholic-laity/.

Year of St. Joseph

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, 2020, Bishop Frank J.Dewane, in the context of the Coronavirus, consecrated the Diocese of Venice to the care and protection of St. Joseph. The Bishop announced a “Year of St. Joseph” beginning March 19, 2020. In light of Pope Francis recently dedicating a “Year of St. Joseph,” the Diocesan celebration will continue through Dec. 8, 2021. St. Joseph, often referred to as the Protector, can be our protector during this time of the pandemic. To pray a Novena to St. Joseph visit the Year of St. Joseph webpage at https://dioceseofvenice.org/a-year-of-st-joseph/.

Bishop celebrating two anniversaries in July

There are two dates in July which hold a special place in the life of Bishop Frank J. Dewane, July 16 and July 25. The Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, is the day in which he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders 33 years ago in 1988 for the Diocese of Green Bay. In addition, it was 15 years ago, on July 25, 2006, when he was Ordained to the Episcopate, becoming a Bishop and the Spiritual Leader of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. Please prayer for Bishop Dewane. If you would like to send the Bishop a congratulatory message, please send a message to communications@dioceseofvenice.org orpost a message on the Diocesan Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dioceseofvenice.

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

Pope Francis recently instituted the Church-wide celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Beginning this year, this special day will be held on the fourth Sunday of July (July 25), close to the liturgical Memorial of Ss. Joachim and Anne, the Grandparents of Jesus. The theme chosen by the Holy Father for this World Day is “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20) which is a way of expressing the closeness of the Lord and the Church to every older person. “I am with you always” is also a promise of closeness and hope that young and old can mutually share. Not only are grandchildren and young people called upon to be present in the lives of older people, but older people and grandparents also have the mission of evangelization, proclamation and prayer, and of encouraging young people in their Faith. To learn more, visit www.amorislaetitia.va.

National NFP Awareness Week

The Diocese of Venice Office of Family Life will be hosting a free virtual session of the Creighton Model Fertility Care System during the National Natural Family Planning Week being held from July 25-31, 2021. This provides an opportunity to spread the word about Catholic teaching on marriage and conjugal love. The Diocese of Venice virtual sessions are being held July 26 and July 27, beginning at 7 p.m. Contact Diocesan Family Life Coordinator Carrie Harkey at harkey@dioceseofvenice.org, or visit: https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/fertility-awareness-introduction-session

2021 Marriage Preparation Retreats

The Diocesan Office of Family Life is offering “Day of Reflection” retreats for couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. A specially prepared volunteer team of married couples and a priest will share their experiences and information with the intention of enabling couples to be more aware of the privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

The retreats in English are from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the following Saturdays: Aug. 7, and Nov. 13. Visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/marriage-preparation-retreat-2021 to register for the English retreats. Retreats in Spanish take place: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 7 and Oct. 30 at St. Jude Parish, 3930 17th Street, Sarasota, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 14 and Dec. 4, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, 355 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle.

To register for a St. Jude retreat date contact 941-955-3934 or visit https://dioceseofvenice.regfox.com/retiro-de-formacion-matrimonial. To register for a retreat at Our Lady Queen of Heaven, contact Carrie Harkey at 941-484-9543 ext. 3019.