The halls of Mercy were filled with the sweet smell of chocolate in August when lower elementary teacher, Noreen Sullivan, hosted the first annual Chocolate Reading Camp. The camp focused on three books, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “The Chocolate Touch”, and “Chocolate Fever”. Great reading is made up of 5 skills – phonetic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. The program worked on the last three.
Each day the children had a lesson about a comprehension skill. The class used a Venn diagram to compare and contrast characters and predict events. Students also asked questions using the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, why (and how) to help them understand what was happening in the book. Afterwards, the children practiced discussing and using these strategies.
Students spent time enhancing their vocabulary by using the dictionary to learn new words from the books. The class had a great time playing vocabulary charades, which helped them to remember the meanings.
Noreen created a script from the book, “Chocolate Fever”, and the children practiced re-reading it each afternoon. Fluency is the ability to read like a storyteller, and it’s built by rereading a text. On Friday, proud parents enjoyed a performance featuring these extremely fluent reading all stars!
The camp was not all classroom work, students also enjoyed a number of chocolate themed crafts. Children made characters from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” using helium balloons, made character finger puppets using wool roving, and dioramas of scenes from that book. Some students cut out the back of the diorama to put on a puppet show. On the final day, students learned how to make chocolate from cocoa butter, chocolate, and confectionary sugar. They enjoyed this sweet treat with strawberries, marshmallows and pretzels.