In 2017, the TN Department of Education in partnership with TN Department of Human Services invested $30 million over the next 3 years for Read to Be Ready Summer Programs.
Because of this funding, ECS was able to apply for summer grant funds. In 2017, three quarters of districts in TN applied. We were 1 of 212 recipients. Our total amount awarded was $33,936. We are fortunate to again receive funding for the 2018 year, where we will be awarded $34,400.
Camp Read-A-Lot is funded with 2 goals in mind: develop comprehension, vocabulary, and foundational skills AND develop a love of reading and writing over the summer months, which many teachers refer to as the “summer slide," a time when students are not actively engaged in meaningful reading and writing.
Our camp, which is housed at East Side Elementary, will run the whole month of June. Our hours are 8 a.m. - noon. We serve a total of 30 rising 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students who are not proficient in reading and writing. They are provided a snack as well as transportation to and from camp daily.
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. Students have completed a writing journal, participated in STEM activities, as well as learned information about different environments. Our camp had an overarching theme of a Reading Camp with students visiting a different environment each week. Our themes included- camping, a safari, the ocean, and outer space. We wanted our children who are mostly socioeconomically disadvantaged to feel as though by giving up their summer to come to our camp- that they would still feel like they were on a mini vacation.
We have also hosted an Open House for parents as well as partnered with Barnes and Noble, Second Harvest Food Bank, Farm Bureau, and Cagney Bennett- Miss Pre Teen South Atlantic United States (who’s platform is early literacy). We have also had special guest readers in the community like the EHS cheerleaders.
At our camp’s conclusion, students will have taken home 22 rich texts to create an at home library FREE of charge.
A pre and post motivational survey as well as running record-assessing students reading ability were administered to determine the overall effectiveness of the program. Results found that there was an increase in confidence and motivation as well as books read, minutes read, and texts that students were exposed to. The continuation of this funding is so important for our students as they will receive extra practice and will continue these gains throughout the summer months.