CAMP READ–A–LOT: City elementary students take part in summer reading program

Published 4:17 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

Students in Elizabethton have the opportunity to be ready for reading before the start of the 2017-18 school year.
The Tennessee Department of Education announced last month that over 200 school systems were awarded funding to take part in the Read to be Ready summer program with Elizabethton being represented.
Elizabethton City Schools, one of the 212 grant recipients, hosted the first installment of Camp Read–A–Lot Monday morning to rave reviews, according to West Side teacher Julie Hartsook.
“I think it went amazing,” Hartsook said with a smile near the conclusion of day one. “I think there was definitely a lot of enthusiasm and excitement from the children, the parents and of course the staff. We had a really good turnout rate for the first day, too.”
Camp Read–A–Lot is comprised of rising first, second and third grade students from West Side, East Side and Harold McCormick elementary schools and is scheduled to last June 5-30. With 33 students signed up for the camp, Hartsook added the first day was near perfect attendance with 30 showing up for the event.
In 2016, the Tennessee Department of Education and Human Services formed a partnership with First Lady Crissy Haslam to fund summer programs serving approximately 600 students. According to information provided by the state, 11,000 students will benefit from the programs with an investment of over $30 million.
“We applied for the grant last year and this year we were approved,” Hartsook said. “We received approximately $26,000 for this summer.” Hartsook, ECS Instructional Reading Coach Anna Hurley and other staff members worked together to form the application.
The goal of the program, Hartsook said Monday, is to provide students with the support they need to continue developing their reading skills during the summer.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our school system and the students in our community to be really provided this extra resource during the summer,” she added. “It’s a perfect opportunity for students to practice their reading skills, hone in on those skills and continue practicing heading into the school year. It’s also a perfect way to get away from that summer backslide we normally see.”
Along with reading, Hartsook added that other activities pertained to the fact it was opening day of the camp. Students were able to take activities at three different stations, creating different items and enjoying time with their peers.
The West Side instructor added that it has taken a community effort to get the program rolling.
“Our bus routes went off without a hitch, so we appreciate that as well,” Hartsook said. “It has really taken a community effort and we appreciate everyone that has assisted.”
Another aspect of the program includes the Camp partnering with the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library throughout the month during their morning storytelling on Fridays.
While the camp is helping students learn and practice skills for learning, Hartsook added it is always key for students to read at home as well.
“Any time you can read with your children, it is always a great time,” she said. “Any situation parents or guardians can put children in to read is great. Whether it’s just reading a stop sign, them reading to you, always take advantage of the opportunity.”

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