Read to be Ready xylophone

Home Depot donated the supplies and labor to build five PVC pipe xylophones for the locations (All county elementary schools excluding New Union) for the Ready to be Ready Summer Camp. Pictured, Coffee County Schools Literacy Couch Robin Watkins stands with Home Depot employees. 

Reading is a focus year-round for Coffee County Schools.

The Read to be Ready Summer Camp is in full swing. The camp is funded by a $90,000 grant from the Department of Human Services. Five of the six elementary schools are open for the camp – New Union is excluded due to the grant only allowing up to five locations – and 90 kids are involved. The camp runs in June, Monday through Thursday, for six hours per day. The last day is Thursday, June 27. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

“The point of the summer camp is to just motivate kids to read and write,” said Coffee County Schools Literacy Couch Robin Watkins.

The camp, which has incoming first, second and third graders who meet the grant requirements, will be given a total of 27 books to take home and projects to do with their families. One project is bringing home a book about museums and clay, so the student and their family can make soldiers.

“It’s really important to this grant to include family,” Watkins said.

The theme of this summer camp is art. Duck River Dance will host dance classes for the students, Coffee County Central High School alumna Sarah Pearson will be painting with the students and playing her guitar, the CHS band and choir will perform for them and more. Home Depot donated the supplies and labor to build five PVC pipe xylophones for the locations. Field trips include going to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Frisk Museum of Art and the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga.

“They’re just exploring lots of the arts, but along the way, all 27 books are about that,” Watkins said.

While enjoying the arts, the students will be continuing reading and literacy habits to help reduce what is lost over the summer.

This is the third year for the Read to be Ready Summer Camp. The first year had 35 kids and three sites, the second year had 90 kids and five sites, and this year has the same number, but has larger projects and field trips thank to the grant.

This year, 18 teachers are giving their time to supervise the camp – three teachers for every 18 kids. The teachers all attended a seminar to get trained for the camp, as well as got ideas to bring into their classroom.

“It also helps teachers, not only kids,” Watkins said.

Parents are involved as well. The first Monday, parents could attend breakfast with their children to go over the books, lessons and projects and on the last day of the camp, there will be an Art Fair for the parents to see what their children accomplished.


News Editor

Casey recently joined the Manchester Times team in March 2018. Coming off a 17-month reporter stint in Port Chester, NY, she is looking forward to slowing down and integrating herself into the community. She currently resides in Manchester.

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