Episcopal Diocese of Western New York

Children of the Book Reading Camp Prepares for Summer

The Children of the Book Reading Camp, a volunteer-based program held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown has been very busy getting ready for its fourth summer.  This year they will have an additional focus on “reading outside” with help of a special gift given by parishioner to help promote literacy in the city.

COTB Coordinators and Teachers display the Little Free Library donated in memory of William Bauer (l to r) Cheryl Burk, Lisa Colby, Cilla Menzies, Kali Rinaldo, and Jennifer Flanders

Victoria Bauer recently presented St. Luke’s with a “Little Free Library” that was handcrafted by her husband, William Bauer, who passed away last December. Mr. Bauer was a retired educator from the Cleveland area. The Bauers have divided their time between their home in OH and their lake house in Bemus Point. Active members of St. Luke’s for many years, the Bauers participated in several outreach projects such as COTB. The couple has also been dedicated to the promotion of literacy and reading throughout their lives.

The Little Free Library program is a national movement to inspire a love of reading and help build community through literacy. The premise of the program is that of a book exchange, where individuals are asked to donate a book as they take one to read for themselves. The small informal libraries are placed outside and available 24/7 to increase community access to the books. St. Luke’s Little Free Library will be launched at the beginning of the COTB program.

“When I came here four years ago, the people of St. Luke’s saw a need for city children to help maintain and improve their literacy throughout the summer months. We are a church that loves reading and believes in books.” says the Rev. Luke Fodor, Rector of St. Luke’s. “Because of the generosity of the Bauers, we will have a new way to reach out to the community while helping our students and their families realize the importance of sharing their love of reading with others. Our hope is that people feel free to visit our campus, pick out a book, find a comfortable place to sit and read a while.”

Children of the Book is a 5-week program coordinated by Co-Directors Kali Rinaldo and Cheryl Burk, certified teachers who work in local school districts during the regular school year. Registration is free and is open to any Jamestown area student who has completed the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. The camp runs from 8AM-noon Mon-Fri and serves breakfast and lunch. The daily schedule includes direct instruction, hands on lessons, guest speakers, partner readers each day and a weekly field trip.

“This program is designed to inspire students and parents to read together every day, to enhance their literacy skills and to celebrate the life of our community.” says Mrs. Rinaldo. “Students are evaluated at the beginning of the program and at the end to measure achievement. Our goal is to enrich the lives of the children over the summer while promoting literacy through learning.”

“We are very interested in involving the community with the program.” adds Ms. Burk. “We are currently looking for volunteer teachers, partner readers, food prep assistants and guest speakers. Last year we served approximately 30 children a day.  This year we’re hoping to reach an average of 35 students daily.”

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 410 North Main St. (Corner of 4th and Main), Jamestown. To register a child for the COTB program or to find out about volunteer opportunities, please call the church office at 716-483-6405.