Get answers to questions about Signum Academy

Signum Academy provided free educational materials to help teachers, homeschoolers, librarians, and others conduct reading camps with middle-school age children. Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here.

Reading Camp Questions

How do I set up a local reading group?

Setting up a local group for a Signum Academy program is still as easy and flexible as ever. Though individual, self-motivated learners can work at their own pace, it can be more fun and enriching to have someone to read along with you!

For those interested in group discussions, all you need is an onsite leader to run the group locally, a copy of the text, and whatever device you’re reading this on! (You may need to provide a way for campers to view the discussion recordings if they do not have their own internet access.)

We provide:

  • Hours of video discussions from experienced instructors
  • Program packets with activity and project ideas, printables, and general guidelines and support information
  • Promotional support, up to and including greetings from the Tolkien Professor

You provide:

  • A coordinator to organize your group and/or a leader to run meetings at your site
  • An internet connection and digital device/computer to view recordings
  • Optional additional supplies like paper, writing/drawing tools, and tape

Do I need to buy books?

While we are actively working to secure funding for the purchase of books, at this time Signum Academy is not equipped to provide free books to participants. If you would like to donate to help us provide books to children for future programs, learn how your financial contribution can help us here.

Options for obtaining a book include:

  • Purchasing a copy of the book for individual use
  • Borrowing a copy from a public library, friend, or family member
  • Sharing a set of reserved copies acquired by the camp coordinator

How much do Signum Academy programs cost?

Completely free, with one exception. New releases of live discussions and activities – with the exception of the advanced Language and Literature Tutorials – and all our recorded resources are free for libraries, families, homeschool groups, teachers and after-school coordinators, book clubs, and others. Everyone is welcome to access them!

We do ask that you please register your group and provide your coordinator’s contact information to receive details about future programs. Scholarships may be available – email us for details.

Can only libraries/homeschoolers participate?

Signum Academy reading programs are available to any group that wants to participate. Knowing some kids won’t have access to a participating group, we are happy to welcome individuals under adult supervision to check out our recordings and materials as well. Please note that the existing content is geared toward children of middle-school age (approximately 9 – 13 years old), but older or younger individuals may certainly be able to benefit from them at organizers/parents’ discretion.

In addition to library- and school-sponsored groups, some other groups that may be interested in participating include (but are not limited to):

  • Homeschool groups
  • Book clubs
  • Faith-based youth groups
  • Families who enjoy reading and discussing literature together

If you are part of or know about a group who would be interested in Signum Academy, please have them send us an email or register.

If access to the material is free, why should I register?

Registration helps both you and us in the following ways:

  • After registering and joining our exciting community of learning, you will receive advance notice of future programming and other opportunities at Signum Academy.
  • Registration gives us a way to stay in contact with coordinators, to communicate with you about what your needs are and receive feedback to help us improve our programs.

Can we incorporate a Signum Academy program into an existing reading program?

Absolutely! Signum Academy materials are designed to be flexible and can easily be adapted to the needs and schedule of each participating group.

If you have questions about how to adapt one or more of our modules to your existing reading program – or if you simply want to share a creative idea that may be of interest to others – email us.

Are you doing a reading camp on [insert book title]?

We launched Signum Academy in 2017 with a two-week camp on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, which brought together approximately 65 libraries and groups and more than 600 individuals. With the success of that first camp, we expanded our reading camp offerings of new live discussions in 2018 to cover four books:

  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

We plan on offering new Signum Academy materials for these as well as a variety of other fantasy and science-fiction literature throughout the coming years. We appreciate feedback on the past camps and current programs and suggestions for books you’d like to see in the future. If you have a suggestion, please email us.

To learn about future reading programs and other free educational programs from Signum University, you can also sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of this page.

How can Signum run these reading camps for free?

Signum University’s educational philosophy is simple: We offer as much as we can for free, and charge as little as we can for the rest.

We do this by maintaining a small and efficient digital campus through which we deliver fun and instructional classes through the University’s three main branches: Signum Graduate School, Mythgard Academy, and the fledgling Signum Academy.

To achieve our goal, we rely on three primary avenues of support:

  • Financial contributions made by generous donors during our annual fundraising campaign and throughout the year
  • Administrative support provided by volunteers and work-study students
  • Grant funding to develop and expand specific programs, like the Signum Academy reading camps

If you would like to help us cover these costs and support future camps, you can do so by donating here.

If you are interested in helping Signum University provide free and low-cost educational programs as a volunteer, please connect with us using our contact form or email [email protected].

About Signum University

Signum University is an online institution devoted to making high-quality education accessible and affordable, while connecting a vibrant community of academics and literature enthusiasts. We offer Master’s coursework and many free programs exploring works of imaginative literature (science fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, etc.).

Signum runs a wide array of public education programs through its Mythgard Institute, which specializes in innovative online teaching on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as other fantasy and science fiction stories. Now, Signum is expanding our programming to kids through Signum Academy’s Reading Camp program.