Twenty-four students, six languages, tremendous growth.

Copperas Cove Independent School District’s summer English as a second language camp wraps up today with incoming kindergartners and first-graders ready to tackle the new school year and succeed academically as well as with their peers.

CCISD ESL Camp taught students for six weeks over the summer to improve their language skills as well as social skills as they prepare to enter the new school year Aug. 15.

The children represented the countries of the Philippines, Guam, Mexico, Samoan, Ghana and others.

Martin Walker Elementary School kindergarten teacher Candice Trowell said it would be impossible for the staff to be able to speak all of the languages that are native to the students in the camp. The students learn from each other as well as the teachers.

“We communicated with the students through photo definitions, researching backgrounds and vocabulary enrichments,” Trowell said. “To watch them communicate without words was just amazing. We learned a lot from them too.”

The students were taught phonics and did interactive English writing daily using all of the balanced literacy components.

Martin Walker Elementary ESL interventionist Theresa Garcia said the camp helps students in more ways than just learning the English language.

“Especially for those kids who do not have a strong foundation of the English language, this gives them a jump-start.” Garcia said. “This will give them a comfort level of knowing what is being said and happening around them so they can develop academically as well as socially.”

The program is funded partially through the Title III federal program and partially through CCISD.

“It is so much easier to teach them English at an early age,” Trowell said. “This gives them confidence so they can feel like they are part of the class and not inferior. It allows them to not only master the content in class but develop relationships with their classmates.

“We saw so much growth in the students, not just academically but socially. We watched them mature this summer,” Trowell said. “They will be ready for kindergarten and first grade when school starts.”

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