Elizabethton City Schools hosting Camp Read-A-Lot

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, June 7, 2018

During the month of June, 30 third grade students from Elizabethton City Schools are getting the chance to travel through the world of literature.

Laughter was scattered throughout East Side Elementary Thursday morning as students worked with teachers during the second annual Camp Read-A-Lot, a grant-funded activity through the state’s Read to be Ready Grant program and federal funding. The system received a combined $34,800 worth of funding to get this year’s installment ready for the student body.

“We wanted to use our curriculum and Tennessee state standards,” Camp Read-A-Lot Director and ECS teacher Julie Hartsook said. “We wanted to go with that and implement different types of learning that would be exciting with various content areas. Bring in math, science, social studies and incorporate that with reading to make this experience more enjoyable for students.”

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And that was the case Thursday as students were able to be “mummies” and do other types of activities while learning about different ways of life through reading.

“I definitely think the students are excited to be here,” Hartsook said. “There are a lot of the hands-on learning opportunities and that gets them excited and motivated to learn about the topics they study.”

This year’s theme focuses on time travel with students in “different” areas throughout the week, including Colonial America, Egypt, Rome and Medieval Europe.

According to Hartsook, the purpose of the camp is to help with the state’s Read to be Ready goal to have 75 percent of third grade students reading on grade level by 2025.

And while the community has supported the camp for two straight years, another initiative is coming through the pipeline with the Betsy Book Bus — a program that coincides with the camp and gives area children an opportunity to receive a book during the summer.

“The growth and opportunity has been immense, especially over the past couple of years, for these programs,” Hartsook said. “I’m very proud that Elizabethton City Schools has been acceptive to their initiatives. This has been a great learning experience for our students, and our teachers. Our goal is to make sure we give the students the best opportunity they can for their education.”

Community support has paid dividends for the growth of the programs, Hartsook added.

“We’re excited about our partnership with the Betsy Book Bus, but overall, we’ve tremendous feedback from the community,” she said. “We still have our partnership in effect with Barnes & Noble of Johnson City. There’s been so much support and we’re appreciative of everyone that’s helped make this possible.”

Visit Elizabethton City Schools’ website to learn more about the camp and the Betsy Book Bus.