Kingsport, Hawkins, Rogersville, Sullivan schools win Read to Be Ready grants

Rick Wagner • Jan 2, 2018 at 1:02 PM

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently announced 203 public school recipients of the 2018 Read to be Ready Summer Grants, which will provide almost $9 million for literacy-focused summer camps for 7,700 students in need across the state.

In the region, recipients were Lincoln Elementary in Kingsport, Carters Valley Elementary in Hawkins County, Rogersville City School, Blountville Elementary, Fairmount Elementary in Bristol, Boones Creek and Jonesborough elementaries, Hunter Elementary in Carter County, South Side School and Fairmont Elementary in Johnson City and Roan Creek and Mountain City elementaries in Johnson County.

For summer 2018, the third year of the grant program, the department has increased funding per student to allow more sites the ability to offer transportation. This will allow programs to fully fund the key components of successful camps, like providing a variety of high-quality texts and a range of learning experiences, while also meeting a key need for students.

Program targets grades 1-3

“As we have seen the past two years, Read to be Ready summer programs help ensure that our rising first-, second- and third-graders who need it the most are getting additional literacy support throughout the summer months,” McQueen said in a news release. “This year, we are increasing access to our camps by providing additional funding to programs so that they can offer transportation to and from the summer camp. As last year’s results showed, these camps play a crucial role in increasing students’ vocabulary, reading comprehension and motivation, so we are excited to remove the transportation barrier to allow our students with the highest need to attend.”

Over the past two years, the Tennessee Departments of Education and Human Services, with support from first lady Crissy Haslam, have partnered to expand the Read to Be Ready Summer Grant program. In 2017, about 8,000 rising first-, second- and third-grade students demonstrated statistically significant gains in critical reading skills and increased their motivation to read. Additionally, through the 2017 summer grant program, more than 180,000 high-quality books were sent home with students, and each student, on average, received 22 new books for his or her home library.

What schools are eligible?

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.

The full list of 2018 Read to be Ready summer grant recipients and local program directors is available on the department’s website, www.tn.gov/. To find out more about the grants, visit the Read to be Ready website at www.tn.gov/readtobeready/. For more information on Read to be Ready and the summer grant program, contact Paige Atchley, Read to be Ready program director, at Paige.Atchley@tn.gov.