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Organization teaches kids FUNdamentals of reading

Elementary-aged children who score below standardized reading test requirements can attend SuperKids Camp, a summer program that will not only keep kid's attention, but also teaches them the fundamentals of reading. During the six-week time frame children are challenged to read at least 100 books. In addition, they also participate in enrichment activities, such as sailing in the Inner Harbor and riding horses at Goucher College.

"The vision is to not only help them learn how to read better, but also instill a love of learning," Jean DuBose, assistant director of program development for Parks and People, said, adding that the camp costs only $30 for the full six-week session.

While participants receive an "intensive reading instruction," according to Parks and People's web site, they also participate in various activities including swimming, drama and music.

"If you're not reading on level by the third grade, chances are you'll be reading behind for good, especially in inner city schools. So it's a really important time to intervene in kids' lives and help them to bring up their reading scores," DuBose said.

The organization brings in college students and certified teachers who act as literacy coaches. "So the instruction is really high quality and it's very individualized," DuBose explained.

DuBose said Sally Michel, current chairman of the board, founded Parks and People 20 years ago. The organization is located in the basement of the Stieff Silver Building on Wyman Park Drive. Michel's focus, DuBose said, was to promote education and enrichment opportunities for kids in city schools. Some of their other programs focus on sports, the environment and maintaining the Gwynns Falls Trail.

Michel founded SuperKids Camp in 1997; a program that has had more than 10,000 children attend the camp. It has become the largest non-school related academic program in Baltimore.

This year the camp will be held June 28 through Aug. 6, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Transcription of Interview - People and Parks