Manchester City Schools recently held a state funded literacy focused camp for students in first-third grades.

The district was one of 218 State of Tennessee Read To Be Ready grant recipients.  The grant provided $8.9 million for districts throughout the state for a tuition-free, month-long literacy focused camps for select students.

Westwood Elementary was a first-time host site for 36 students from both Westwood Elementary and College Street Elementary. Five teachers, Dedra Goins, Mandy Philips, Paul Anderson, Chastity Crosslin, and Stefanie Williams, under the direction of Rebecca Welch, began training sessions and planning for the camp mid-February.

Students were selected based on their need for experiential learning, their commitment to attending camp daily for the month of June, and good faith teacher referrals based on their previous school year performance.

Throughout the month, participants, called Rocky Top Readers (after the program of the same name), learned more about their home state of Tennessee and took advantage of the close proximity of educational field trip destinations, including Ellington Agriculture Center, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Chattanooga Aquarium, and Old Stone Fort.

 Teachers saw eyes light up the second week of camp as students made their way to Barnes and Nobles Bookstore in Murfreesboro.

Each student was allotted $100 each for books of their choice. Customers smiled and one shed a tear watching the excitement in these kids over their brand new books. For some of the early readers, it was their first time in a bookstore.

Student growth was measured in three ways with pre- and post-tests in the categories, Accuracy on a grade level passage, Comprehension on a grade level passage, and a Reading Interest Inventory.

MCS is proud to report that in the course of one month, the group collectively grew by 7.1 points in accuracy and 20 points in comprehension. Meanwhile, parents reported what the Reading Interest Inventory confirmed that the students were more interested in books, decoding and reading on their own at home.

Manchester City Schools recognizes the hard work of these students and families and would like to encourage ALL students to fight the summer slide and READ, READ, READ this summer.

Sprout Children’s Shop on the square for sponsored T-shirts given to each student.