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Secret Codes camp offered for struggling readers

The Center for READing is offering the Secret Codes camp this summer. The camp takes place from Monday, June 3 to Thursday, July 25.  

The curriculum is year-long curriculum and students will receive half of the curriculum. It is science-based program and is used to help struggling readers and prevent reading failure. Registration has passed, but the camp was open to all children.  

Chair of the psychology and counseling department and director of the PSU Center for READing, David Hurford developed the curriculum. 

They go through our curriculum which is a science-based curriculum to prevent reading failure in all children but particularly students who have dyslexia and reading difficulties,” Hurford said.”  

The classes at the Secret Codes camp different from those in a class during the academic school year.  

Firstly, it is based on the science of reading and the science of reading really looks at the structural components of the language and literacy,” Hurford said. “We created a program to help individuals understand how to learn how to read because the English writing system is very difficult to learn how to read in. If you have dyslexia or a reading difficulty it makes it extremely difficult. In fact, in other writing systems like Spanish (or) German… their writing systems are much easier to decode. So, people who have dyslexia and reading difficulties in those languages they struggle to learn how to decode the language, but they become competent readersGenerally, in those writing systems they are referred to as slow readers, but in the English writing system often times we see individuals who become nonreaders.”  

Amanda Welch administers and teachers one of the classes offered by the Secret Codes camp.  

“Well I have been a graduate assistant at the Psychology Department since I graduated school here a few years ago and I have been working with Dr. Hurford,” Welch said. “(When) he told me about the Secret Codes Camp, my son was in first grade at the time and he was also struggling with reading. So, he was telling me about the curriculum and that is just how I started teaching that summer after and (I) was able to bring my son in with me and everything.”  

According to Welch, the program has helped many young readers learn and become better readers.  

(I have seen the children grow) quite a bit,” Welch said. “We have students from all ages in the Secret Codes from I think five years old was our youngest all the way up to 12. I have noticed that it has benefited a lot of them. Last summer we administered reading tests throughout the summer and when we compared the beginning to the end, they had learned to read a lot of words and their handwriting (got) progressively better throughout and making the correct sounds in decoding words. 


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