Summer reading program helps kids stay on level - WSMV News 4

Summer reading program helps kids stay on level

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Students participate in the S'More Reading Summer Camp in Hendersonville. (WSMV) Students participate in the S'More Reading Summer Camp in Hendersonville. (WSMV)
HENDERSONVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Students in Hendersonville are discovering that reading can be a lot of fun.

They’re part of the S’more Reading Summer Camp, which is setting them up for success in the classroom.

Hendersonville’s mayor came up with the idea for the S’more Reading Summer Camp, which was held for the first time.

The camp is free for low-income students who may be struggling academically.

“These children are typically below grade level to start,” said camp director Melanie Hicks.

Hicks, a third-grade teacher at Indian Lake Elementary, said the camp prevents the “summer slide.”

“Children can lose up to two to three months of their academic gains from the previous year if they don’t read during the summer,” said Hicks.

Children from Gene Brown and George Whitten elementary schools were hand-picked by their teachers.

The 19 campers will be entering the second or third grade. They are immersed in literacy five days a week for three hours each day.

Jennifer Ventura likes coming to the reading camp “because we read a lot.”

“If you don’t read, you won’t study, and then you’ll know nothing,” said camper Allison Castillo.

The camp is four weeks long.

“If a child will read just 20 minutes a day, at the end of the year they will have read 1.8 million words,” said Hicks.

“We learn about belonging, kindness and friendship,’ said camper Hileana Gonzalez.

The camp is hosted by the Community Church of Hendersonville.

A partnership, including the Literacy Council of Middle Tennessee and local businesses, are improving these students’ lives.

“That support has really been exciting and had indicated to us that this pilot can expand,” said Hicks.

“It’s very good. It’s important to read,” said Castillo.

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