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Nashville first-grader John Little reads a story at the 2016 kickoff of Tennessee's "Read to be Ready" initiative.

Nashville first-grader John Little reads a story at the 2016 kickoff of Tennessee’s “Read to be Ready” initiative.

Marta W. Aldrich/Chalkbeat

Memphis to receive more state-funded summer reading camps than previous year

Memphis students can attend 12 state-funded camps next summer aimed at bolstering literacy skills, an increase from nine camps offered in 2017.

Six schools in the state-run Achievement School District and six in Shelby County Schools will host the camps.

In all, Tennessee will distribute about $8.9 million to pay for month-long camps at 203 schools across the state. The amount is similar to last year’s awards.

The Tennessee departments of education and human services have earmarked $30 million for the summer programs over three years as part of a major state literacy initiative, which aims to get 75 percent of third-graders proficient in reading by 2025. Only a third of Tennessee fourth-graders are proficient in reading, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress.

While the state still has a long way to go to its 2025 goal, the results from the 2017 camps showed progress. Testing data was available for only half of participating students, but those who were assessed grew in their reading accuracy by an average of 4 percentage points from the start of the summer to the end. This stands in contrast to “summer slide,” where students can lose two to three months in reading achievement over the summer break.

For the first time this summer, the state is increasing funding per student so that more sites will be able to offer transportation.

“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,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said Tuesday. “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 summer camps are free to students, who need only to be signed up by their parents at whichever school they want to attend.

The state-funding camps at Memphis schools are:

  • Whitney Achievement Elementary School, Achievement School District
  • Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary School, Achievement School District
  • Libertas School of Memphis, Achievement School District
  • Cornerstone Prep Denver, Achievement School District
  • Aspire Coleman and Aspire Hanley Elementary, Achievement School District
  • Riverview K-8 School, Shelby County Schools
  • Arrow Academy of Excellence,  Shelby County Schools
  • Willow Oaks School, Shelby County Schools
  • Sherwood Elementary,  Shelby County Schools
  • Rozelle Elementary,  Shelby County Schools
  • Aspire East Academy,  Shelby County Schools

The full list of 2018 Read to be Ready summer grant recipients and local program directors is available on the department’s website.