Church summer program offers encourages reading, fun

Published 10:30 am Friday, July 24, 2015

Evan Runyon takes lead in a “Jesus is Our Superhero” video dance during the Live Free program.

Evan Runyon takes lead in a “Jesus is Our Superhero” video dance during the Live Free program.


Isaiah Christian bent his head over his book and concentrated on reading aloud to a classroom of young people who listened intently as he read. Christian and the handful of other young students were participating in the Live Free summer program aimed at encouraging young people to read during the summer so they can keep their reading skills in shape for school in the fall.

Live Free is based out of local Methodist churches and offers students crafts, lunch, science-based activities, Bible story and music time, and reading groups. The program meets at different churches each day of the week during the summer. Brittany Hess, who helps with Live Free at First United Methodist Church on Thursdays, said the program is “making sure [students] don’t lose what they learn.”

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At Live Free, students are able to work with instructors to improve their reading skills and complete educational worksheets based upon what they have learned. Children are broken up by their age groups and are given reading materials that are similar to what they would read in school.

“I hope [the program] will keep their reading scores up,” said Hess.

Students are given the opportunity to read a portion of an assigned book aloud in their reading groups while an instructor provides guidance on sounding out difficult words.

When it comes to the assigned reading, students had a strong opinion on which types of books they liked best. Sibling Gracie and Isaiah Christian agreed that Don’t Wake the Mummy was one of the best books because it was about adventure.

“I like that one because it has more action and adventure,” said Isaiah Christian.

Dancing to the music being played during the kid’s activity time, eight-year-old Trinity Holt was clearly enjoying herself at Live Free.

“I like to come because it’s really fun,” said Holt. “I like singing, I like dancing; I like seeing my friends.” “[My] favorite thing is that I like the teachers here.”

Sebastian Pascual-Berna also enjoys the chance to sing along with other students.

“My favorite part is singing,” he said.

Along with Live Free’s reading emphasis, the program also provides students with the chance to learn about science through scientific activities. Kelsey Christian said that science time is her favorite thing about the program.

“Last time we did paper airplanes to see how fast it would go,” said Christian.

While this is the first year Live Free has been in the Lawrence County area, kids are already happy that the program offers them something fun to do during the lazy days of summer.

“I get to see my friends. I get to come out and do something,” said Isaiah Christian.