Waco Scottish Rite Grants $82,000 to Baylor Literacy Program

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Waco Scottish Rite members present a check to Baylor's Camp Success.
June 16, 2008

by Lauren Venegas, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

A Baylor University language and literacy program has received a generous gift of $82,000 from Waco Scottish Rite.

Camp Success was presented with the grant from representatives of Waco Scottish Rite on Tuesday, June 17. This is the largest donation Camp Success has received from Scottish Rite, which has given more than $350,000 since the start of Camp Success in 2003. The free camp is fully funded through grants from Scottish Rite, and the money will be used strictly to run the program, providing supplies, books and faculty salaries.

"We are all so thankful for Scottish Rite and all they do for literacy. The children involved in Camp Success show marked improvement in their reading and language skills, making a one-to-three-year progress," said Dr. Michaela Ritter, associate chair of the department of communication sciences and disorders and coordinator of the camp. Camp Success serves children, ranging from ages 5 to17 years of age, who have dyslexia, a language and reading impairment.

"Many of the children involved in Camp Success are unable to read at all; others are reading below their grade level," Ritter said. "Our main goal is to help them become successful readers. Because reading is written language, we first evaluate the child to determine the oral and written language areas that may be causing the child to have problems with his or her reading skills. Individual language goals are selected that will be the most beneficial to that child."

Ritter said the literacy program is successful because each child receives an intense treatment based on "research targeting the client's individual needs." Each child receives more than 50 hours of reading and language therapy within a five-week period.

Within the past six years, Camp Success has grown from 24 children to 80 children with more than 200 on the waiting list. For the current 80 children attending the camp, 36 Baylor graduate students, 12 faculty members and 4 undergraduate students are involved with Camp Success.

"The community, Waco Scottish Rite Bodies and the Baylor University department of communication sciences and disorders partnership has not only proven to be enduring, but one that is making significant contributions to the academic success of Central Texas students," said Claude Ervin, Waco Scottish Rite chairman. "The results of these efforts will be measured in the success of a student becoming a self-sufficient adult and community-minded citizen."

For more information, contact Dr. Ritter at (254) 710-4745.

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