Building Literary Skills through the Visual Arts at Davie County Schools Read to Achieve Summer Camp

RTA Art Internal

by Jeanna White

Armed with paint brushes, some students add personal touches to pictures that will be joined together to create a totem pole for the end-of-camp celebration. Others are applying the final layer of glaze to ceramic tiles bearing their personal symbols. Containers of hand-made clay beads and medallions cover the tables and floor.

What may appear like chaos is actually learning in its highest form.

“In the arts, we start with creativity, which is at the top of the intelligence scale,” said visual arts teacher, Lauren Rieth, referencing Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains, which promotes higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just remembering facts.

“The ability to see in many different ways and to solve problems are important 21st-century skills,” she added

Davie County Schools uses a unique approach to its summer Read to Achieve Camp. In addition to traditional reading exercises, the school system incorporates visual arts, music, movement, and theater to create a holistic experience for each student.

This summer, all camp activities are centered around the reading of The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin. In the story, a Native American girl is looked down upon because of her looks, but in the end, she is recognized and admired for her inner beauty.

“Read to Achieve Camp is full of boys and girls who sometimes don’t feel respected because they have different strengths and different ways of learning,” Rieth said.

“In this class, we use the creation of personal symbols and power necklaces and medallions to help them find the inner fierceness and strength needed to become the leaders they were meant to be.”

For an introductory overview of Read to Achieve Summer Camp 2017, please visit