“We are grateful to have been awarded the Read to be Ready grant and we are happy to build upon the success of last year's program,” Johnson City Schools Director of Accountability and School Improvement Dr. Robbie Anderson said. “The Read to be Ready grant has become one of several important strategies we employ to help us fight the ‘summer slide’. Students that participate continue to make great strides in their literacy development and in their journey to become lifelong readers and learners.”
South Side first grade teacher Keisha Scott helped with the program last year and decided to take the lead this year in writing the grant. She said that she saw the impact that the program can have on students and she is thrilled that South Side will have another opportunity to host the summer program.
“We are extremely excited to have another Read to be Ready camp this summer at South Side,” Scott said. “I wrote the grant this year because I saw firsthand the value that the program had on our students last year. Any time that we can help foster and build our students’ love of reading, in a fun and engaging way, is a great opportunity to set our students up for success.”
The program will help rising first and second students that are not reading on grade-level and may be economically disadvantaged. Over the summer, the students will have a guest reader each day during lunch. The group will also take field trips to local attractions, including a local book store, the public library and they will also visit little library stations that are spread across the Tree Streets neighborhood where South Side is located. Students will also have the opportunity to take books home to grow their personal library.
During last year’s program, students from Science Hill volunteered and some other Johnson City Schools teachers helped the kids with hands-on activities.
The Ready to be Ready program is in its fourth year and the department has expanded students’ access to the program by changing the student-to-teacher ratio from 1:5 to 1:6. This will allow more students to participate without sacrificing the quality and close-knit nature of the camps.
In summer 2018, about 7,700 rising first, second and third grade students collectively spent over 6.8 million minutes reading and over 4.6 million minutes writing. Students participating in 2018 summer camps saw statistically significant increases in reading comprehension, accuracy, and motivation. Additionally, through the 2018 summer grant program, more than 193,000 high-quality books were sent home with students, and each student, on average, received 25 new books for his or her home library.
All Tennessee public schools were eligible to apply for the Read to be Ready Summer Grant program.
Prospective applicants were asked to design summer camps that were at least four weeks in length and at least four hours per day—providing students with access to at least 80 hours of literacy-focused instruction and enrichment during the summer. The summer camps will use high-interest books, authentic literacy experiences, and engaging field trips to help increase students’ motivation.