MARIETTA - Children at the annual Marietta College Summer Reading Camp arrived Monday to find a variety of books to borrow- and some to call their own.
"I usually read chapter books and in my tub I got only chapter books," said 7-year-old Williamstown resident Audrey Fenton. "I think she got me 10 and I already had 27, so now I have 37."
Senior Marietta College education students serving as instructors for the four-week camp met in advance with each of the nearly 80 children attending to learn their interests. That information, combined with a test of their reading levels, helped the instructors select $50 worth of books for each student to take home with them.
Marietta resident Melina Matics, 7, said she enjoys mystery books because "you're very challenged" when reading them.
In another class, Dylan Kelly, of Marietta said he enjoys books that are "mysterious and funny" while 10-year-old Austin Amash said he prefers "facts and knowledge books."
Adrian Lewis, 8, of Whipple expressed his fondness for books about Native Americans, sharks and dinosaurs, particularly the tyrannosaurus rex.
"He has big jaws and is a carnivore," Lewis said.
Students could indulge in their favorite types of books and new ones in individual and group activities.
MC senior Tara Eddleblute and her fellow instructors had several setups where their students could settle in to read.
Matching the theme of "Chill Out and Read," the room had a mattress covered with a white sheet, that was designated a reading "iceberg," as well as a tent serving as an igloo. Books to check out during the camp were arranged by subject in Styrofoam coolers.
"We wanted them to have some different things that are fun, not just chairs and couches," Eddleblute said.
The camp, which welcomes students going into kindergarten through the sixth grade, was first held in 1989. Support from the Marietta Morning Rotary provides scholarships to students who might otherwise be unable to participate.
"The goal is to foster a love of books and reading and to continue to build the literary skills they're learning in school," said Dottie Erb, professor of education at the college.
It also benefits the education majors, who are preparing for student teaching in the upcoming school year. Eddleblute said the students themselves are responsible for lesson plans instead of being under the supervision of veteran teachers.
While reading is the center of the camp, there are other activities as well, including a trip to the Columbus Zoo.
Students get to "practice their reading and they get to do a lot of other fun things," Eddleblute said.