Dr. John Burgin

Teaching Literacy through Summer Camps

Dr. John Burgin coordinates the Early Childhood Education program. He started a Summer Literacy Camp 10 years ago that has since benefited more than 1,000 students and 200 teachers from eight low-income schools in the University District.

The project has generated more than $150,000 in grants from the Arkansas Humanities Council, Children International, Arkansas Reading First, and Little Rock and North Little Rock School Districts.

North Heights Elementary School students were involved in the activities that included reading groups and writing workshops. Principal Dana Snowden said, “At the end of each day, the students left with smiles on their faces and sharing information gleaned from the day.” She added that they were especially pleased to share their class newspapers.

Bale Elementary Principal Barbara Anderson said her teachers who worked with Burgin were very complimentary of his help and guidance throughout the literacy camp. “I know that the skills they acquired will be invaluable as they teach this year.”

Burgin has also worked with Children International on a summer program, Lights, Camera, Action. At the four-week camp, sixth graders read plays and fairy tales to use as content for writing scripts. They used the EAST Lab and theater at UA Little Rock to produce movies and perform in front of family and friends at the end of the camp. Burgin submitted the movies to the AETN Film Festival.

“John’s passion for working with young people, combined with his years of experience in curriculum design and teaching, are a terrific combination,” said Cheryl Chapman, former director of Children International. “Students worked side-by-side with faculty, college students, teachers, and film professionals. Field trips to AETN, local film festivals, and speakers from the film industry introduced students to the world of film and provided a foundation for their creation.”

Chapman said his training, assessment, and curriculum design at Children International has improved educational programs for hundreds of students in the Little Rock area.

Burgin came to UA Little Rock in 2002. He earned a B.A. degree in psychology from Hendrix College in 1981; an Ed.S. degree in reading and and an M.S. degree in educational psychology from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1984; and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction ifrom the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2001.

Posted in: 2012, Public Service

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