Camp Read-A-Lot made it possible for 30 students to take home 22 books each and to explore literacy in different environments around the world. It would not have been possible without the teachers who applied for the grant and planned the program. For this reason, the Board of Education recognized their efforts and creativity and commended them on putting together such a successful first-year program.
The program was funded by a $33,936 grant from the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Department of Human Services and served 30 rising first, second and third graders from June 5-30. The grant enabled schools to continue providing Read to be Ready curricula to students during the summer months.
Julie Hartsook, a first grade teacher at West Side Elementary School, wrote the grant and served as the program director. She spoke about the program and introduced the teachers involved: Kim Pless, Brittany Johnson, Rachel Campbell, Teresa Dugger, Kayla Storie, Debbie Estep, Sara Penley, Sara Dunfor and Tabitha Wandell. Director of Schools Dr. Corey Gardenhour said the teacher involved are some of the best in the system and commended them for all their hard work and creativity.
Teachers not only helped students develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, and foundational skills, but they used the theme of camping and exploration to develop a love of reading. Students explored camping, safari, ocean and outer space.
The program took place from June 5-30 and served students in greatest need of additional academic support. Students completed writing journals, participated in STEM activities and learned about different environments. They took field trips around the area and hosted guest readers.
“Our program has provided students access to rich, authentic literacy opportunities as well as provided a multitude of high quality, high interest texts and literacy experiences,” said Hartsook.
She thanked the numerous partners involved in making the program possible including Barnes & Noble, Second Harvest Food Bank, Miss PreTeen South Atlantic United States Cagney Bennett, and Elizabethton High School Cheerleaders.