About us

Why Are We so Focused on Reading?

Since 2002, Durham Nativity School has been dedicated to preparing young men for college preparatory high schools. Part of that mission has included professional development, relationships with community agencies, countless meetings with our faculty and educators from all over the country, and feedback from students and families. Though we continue to seek ways to better serve our students, we have learned this:

  • Avid readers naturally develop all of the traits that the classroom requires, which is more likely to translate into academic success.

  • Most students like to read but do not always choose books that are at their appropriate reading level; therefore, they lose interest.

  • Many students do not know how to access digital copies of books from the library, have somebody to read aloud with, or have access to a large selection of books.

Therein lies the mission of the Koortbojian Summer Reading Camp. The curriculum includes combination of innovative standards-based programs (The Walking Classroom, Newsela, ReadTheory.org), high-interest novel study, daily access to hundreds of books, and reading comprehension projects that bring their books to life. The camp will enhance that curriculum with weekly excursions, getting students familiar with the libraries resources, energizing daily activities led by counselors , and reading challenges that will keep the campers motivated.

Jenny Semans Koortbojian

The summer reading camp is operated by Durham Nativity School but is made possible by a generous endowment from Jenny Semans Koortbojian (1954-2016). She was an avid reader and lover of the arts, loved literature and films, and was a dedicated reader of The New Yorker. As an adult, she worked for The Paris Review during the time George Plimpton was editor-in-chief. Her reading and magazine work fueled a love of writing. She was a talented writer in her own right, and compiled a manuscript of sonnets (Hall-Wynne, 2016). DNS is proud to offer the camp to the children of Durham as a part of her legacy.