Young authors in Camden debut their first book

CAMDEN, N.J. - July 29, 2011

They have written their very own books and have self-published them, and they unveiled their work for their parents at a special school celebration Friday afternoon.

Nearly 2,800 elementary public school children from 17 schools in the district participated in this year's Summer Learning Labs.

At the Cramer College Prep Lab, students from pre-K through 6th graders were given the subject of marine life to research, draft, edit and publish their own books.

Maya Robinson wrote about polar bears, who said she learned a lot.

"I learned that polar bears have three different body coverings," said Maya who is in the 5th grade.

"When I first saw the book, it was a bunch of pages, and then when she said the book was completed, I was like, wow!" said Maya's dad Dave Robinson.

The program was developed by American Reading Company.

"It's the first time Camden has done a district wide summer program," said Scott Stacy. "We've been talking about it for a number of years, and to see it come to fruition is really great."

Gabriel Ogburn was having trouble in school before the summer program.

"I feel surprised that I could do it," said Gabriel.

"It has helped his reading skills go up," said Gabriel's mom. "It helped him focus more. Going here has helped him a lot."

The four-week program clearly gives the kids an advantage when they return to school in the fall.

"Even at an early age, they are able to open the book and find a table of contents, what a heading is in a non-fiction book," says Rebecca Rodriguez.

Nayeli Jacinto is Cramer's Best Book winner with "Precious Penguins".

"I like animals," said Nayeli. "I want to help animals, and I lot to write a lot."

The students are encouraged to take books home during the summer, and to continue to write, and there were lots of parents at the school on Friday getting involved in the process.

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