Spencer Elementary School will receive Read to be Ready funding for summer reading programs

by | December 28, 2017 8:42 am

Spencer Elementary School was named one of several schools across Tennessee to receive a portion of the Read to Be Ready Summer Grant. (Photo by BOBBY MCCULLEY)

Van Buren County public schools was recently named a recipient of the state’s Read to be Ready 2018 Summer Grant, which will help the school system provide additional summer based reading programs for elementary students.

Last week, Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced that 203 public schools across Tennessee would be receiving funding from the 2018 Read to be Ready Summer Grant. The grant will be providing approximately $8,860,000 in funding for tuition-free, month-long literacy-focused summer camps for 7,700 students in need across the state.

According to Sara Gast, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Education, “Spencer Elementary School in Van Buren County has been named as one of the 203 public schools to receive a grant from the 2018 summer Read to be Ready grants.”

The 2018 summer grants, which is the third year of the grant program, will help increase funding to help more public schools to have the ability to offer transportation for students. This will allow schools like Spencer Elementary School to fund key components of successful camps, which help students to achieve state reading preparedness goals.

“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. “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.”

The Tennessee Department of Education, with support from First Lady Crissy Haslam, has partnered to expand the Read to Be Ready Summer Grant program. Through the 2017 summer grant program, more than 180,000 books were sent home with students, and each student, on average, received 22 new books for his or her home library.

“We are proud of these recipients for their efforts and for the incredible work that will come this summer in order to make sure that all Tennessee children are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade,” said Haslam. “These summer camps are a creative and strategic approach to combat summer slide, which can have a considerable effect on the academic progress that students make during the school year.”

Rural school districts utilize grant programs like Read to be Ready to help provide the necessary funding for after-school and summer based programs without taking from the general school fund. Other schools within the region that received Read to be Ready grant funds like Spencer Elementary included Morrison and West Elementary schools, in Warren County, and Woodland Park Elementary School, in White County.

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