Reading is one of the most important fundamentals a student learns in school today. In an effort to stress that importance, North Carolina has implemented the Read to Achieve program and officials with Clinton City Schools are working hard to assist with those efforts.
The Read to Achieve program follows a law mandated by the state that all students who exit third grade are reading at grade level. For any student who is not reading at that level, they will receive additional help like the summer reading camp and other interventions that work to ensure a child is fourth-grade ready.
According to Vanessa Brown, principal at Butler Avenue School, nearly 155 students have spent the last three weeks in a summer reading camp, that is fully funded by the state, as a way to improve the reading skills of students who are falling below grade level in first, second and third grades. Clinton City Schools isn’t just focusing on third grade, but has also included students in first and second who aren’t performing at grade level as well.
“Our summer reading camp is for third graders who did not pass the EOG and first, second and third graders who are not reading on grade level,” Brown said. “This camp gives them the jump start they need so that they are ready for the next grade level.”
During the reading camp, students are given extra help in all areas of reading like comprehension, writing, sight word recognition, phonics and technology. Students attend the camp at Butler Avenue from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and according to Crystal Wells, one of the teachers assisting with the camp, the day is structured much like any other school day.
Camp is held Monday-Thursday, and Wells said the students even have homework.
“The kids come in and we have whole group assignments and breakout sessions,” Wells said. “The breakout sessions allow for the students to get more one on one instruction and that additional help they need.”
The goal of the camp, Faith Howell shared, is to assist students in reaching their grade level when reading, or at least get them close to the appropriate grade level.
“We work really hard to get them where they need to be,” Howell said. “We try to help each child improve their reading skills and language comprehension skills.”
With only one week of the camp left, both Wells and Howell said the students, at all levels, are being prepared to be retested for their reading level. Those students who are in third grade and didn’t pass the EOG in May, they will be retested for the EOG and their reading scores will be reassessed.
“The small classroom size really helps the children,” Brown shared. Most classrooms she said average about 15 students in whole group and five in breakout sessions.
“The camp isn’t as fast paced as the regular classroom during the school year,” Brown added. “This really allows some of our students to open up and participate more than they would have in a regular classroom.”
Brown, Howell and Wells all agreed that there has been gradual growth in all the students.
“The students are really trying,” Wells said. “They are eager to learn each day and we make sure that happens.”
Brown said the Reading 3D program will be utilized to assess students’ reading level and monitor the growth and progress being made by each student.
Through the summer reading camp, 16 certified teachers have been employed, as well as two administrative staff members on a rotating basis. The books that are being used, since the library is closed, are part of the books collected during the Read 5 Give 5 campaign that collected over 800 books.
Bags were donated by International Minute Press and given to each student as a means for carrying their books and materials to and from school each day.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.