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Learning to Read and Bat at Summer Camp

As summer gives way to fall, education correspondent John Tulenko reports on a camp that promotes practicing both reading and batting.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Reading, writing, and pitching? Those activities aren't often linked together at camp, but we have one exception. The story comes from special correspondent John Tulenko of Learning Matters Television, which produces education stories for the "NewsHour."

  • JOHN TULENKO:

    Summer's nearly over, and, for millions of kids, that's good news. Ron Fairchild directs the National Center for Summer Learning.

    RON FAIRCHILD, executive director, National Center for Summer Learning: While many of us hold this wonderful idyllic notion of what summer is about for kids — it's this wonderful time for kids to be kids, for all this freedom, for exploration — the reality is, is that there are millions of kids in this country that don't have access to that, for whom summer vacation represents a major setback and risk.

  • JOHN TULENKO:

    The risk is highest in communities like East Harlem, New York. When school is out, many kids have nowhere to go but the streets. Richard Berlin works with neighborhood youth.

    RICHARD BERLIN, executive director, Harlem RBI: And there is intense poverty here, just a sense of hopelessness. Kids get into gangs. Kids go to jail. Kids get on drugs. These things happen in all communities, but they happen way too much in poor communities.

  • JOHN TULENKO:

    That's where Harlem RBI comes in. It's a free six-week-long summer day camp and a year-round after-school program combining baseball with academics. Berlin is the director.

  • RICHARD BERLIN:

    During the summer, it is essentially a full-day literacy and baseball camp. Kids are learning in the classroom, with professional teachers and college students as teachers' aides. From 9:00 until 12:00, they have breakfast here, they have lunch here. And then they're on the ball field in the afternoon.