Dog Ears Bookstore to offer free youth and teen literacy programs this summer

The free programs are made possible through funding by the Erie County Youth Bureau and City of Buffalo South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon.The free programs are made possible through funding by the Erie County Youth Bureau and City of Buffalo South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon.
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Dog Ears Bookstore will be offering free summer programming for youth during July and August. The week-long camps are designed to help build reading and writing skills, as well as comprehensive skills that target the needs for each specific grade level. Throughout the camps, youth will learn helpful tips, skills and strategies that will carry across all subject areas and transition into the NYS Common Core Curriculum. However, lessons and activities will be fun, interactive and hands-on and will utilize multiple methods of instruction to meet the varied learning styles.

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are limited to 20 students per camp. For youth ages 7 and 8, separate camps will be held the weeks of June 28 through July 1 (no camp Friday, July 2), Aug. 16-20 and Aug. 23-27. For youth who are 9 to 11 years old, separate camps will be held the weeks of July 12-16, July 19-23 and July 26-30. Two separate camps will be held the weeks of Aug. 2-6 and Aug. 9-13 for youth who are 12 and 13 years old. At this time, parents are only able to sign their children up for one week of programming so that as many children as possible can attend and participate.  

The camps are open to children of all reading and writing levels and will consist of an activity in the morning which will include, but is not limited to music, sports, animals, drama, literature, arts, community awareness and other topics. For the 7- and 8-year-old camps, local community members and businesses will be utilized as mentors to help show the youth different avenues to success, team building and cooperative learning. Following an on-site lunch break (youth must provide their own bagged lunch each day), the children will break into small groups to reflect upon, write about, and share thoughts about their morning experiences and achievements. 

The camps for the two older groups will be slightly different. Youth will be introduced to “speed book dating” and book circles to broaden the scope and exposure to different types of literary genres, styles, influences, authors and cultures. Different forms of writing, along with the processes that go into each one, will also be explored. Youth will participate in Writer’s Workshops that will be based on a book that is chosen by the group. 

In addition to the week-long camps, Dog Ears will also be offering Summer Reading Guidance Sessions for High School Students. This will take place on Thursday evenings throughout the summer for a total of eight sessions on the following dates: July 8, 15, 22 and 29 and Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26. These sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate teens schedules. Sessions will be used to help high school students understand, comprehend and complete their summer reading list. Assistance will also be given with the assignments that accompany the books. The books to be utilized throughout this camp are extracted from summer reading lists from area schools. Each Thursday night session can accommodate 20 youth at a time and students must provide their own copy of the book.

New York State Certified English Language Arts teachers, or those with comparable credentials, will plan and facilitate all of the camps. All supplies and portfolios for writing pieces will be provided.

All sessions will be held at Dog Ears Bookstore, which is located at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo, near Mercy Hospital. Sessions will be held upstairs of the bookstore (enter through the front entrance). All COVID protocols must be followed including social distancing and mask wearing for those who are not vaccinated. Adults must be mindful of the drop-off and pick-up times and are welcome to wait for their children at the end of the day in the café, which will be open for food and beverage purchases.

Pre-registration is required and youth are expected to attend the entire week that they are signed up for. Parents can register their children by stopping in the bookstore to fill out registration paperwork. No sign-ups will be taken over the phone. Applications will be available starting Wednesday, June 16 at 1 p.m. and are on a first come, first serve basis.

The free programs are made possible through funding by the Erie County Youth Bureau and City of Buffalo South District Councilman Christopher Scanlon.

For additional information regarding the camps, please contact Tom McDonnell at 

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