Summer Reading Camp Shows More Than Words

It's a summer adventure, between the pages. The Junior League of Tyler started their Summer Reading Camp Monday for almost a hundred kids.

"The children are very impressionable," co-chairman Stacy Panfil-Parsley says. "It's an important time to instill the values of reading, the importance as well as the fun. With all the different activities they do, they can see how their imagination can just run wild once they get into a book."

The kids learn about the fun of reading through activities like writing letters to the characters, and doing art projects. The point of the camp is not to make kids read, or even to read to them. It's to show them the world that opens up when you read.

The activities center not on the words on the page, but what being able to read the book means.

"They can see it from a different aspect," Panfil-Parsley explains. "Not only the letters on the page, but how it can actually come to life. They can see all the different avenues that a book can run around in your head."

Kids earn play-money by participating, and can then buy books and toys before going home. When they spend more on books than toys, the volunteers feel like they've done their jobs.

"When they're able to buy above and beyond the books that were required instead of toys," Panfil-Parsley says, "I think that's why I come back every year."

For the volunteers, that's enough to make them feel good about these kid's futures.

Reid Kerr ( reporting.