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November 19, 2017

Summer literacy camps improving student performance 

Barbara Womack
Grainger Today Correspondent 

RUTLEDGE – State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen reported last week that the state’s Read to be Ready summer grant program grew significantly in its second year. 

Grainger County was one of the districts that apparently caught her attention, said Director of Schools Edwin Jarnagin.  

McQueen visited Rutledge Primary School (RPS) in September to meet with faculty members to discuss the program. 

“The commissioner was very complimentary in how we had implemented the program and how the staff had used the resources,’” Jarnagin said. 

More than 40 rising first, second and third-graders took part in the program here this past summer at RPS and Washburn School. It is designed to help children who are below grade level in reading to improve their skills. Staci Gray, Grainger County’s curriculum coordinator, said better reading would help students to succeed in other areas of their education. 

During her visit to RPS, teachers told McQueen that those students who took part in the program were better prepared for the school year. 

McQueen said in her report that about 8,000 students took part in the program this year, about 7,500 more than in 2016. She said students were able to take more than 180,000 high-quality books to read on their own time. 

“We are excited about the positive results from our 2017 summer literacy camps,” McQueen said. “I had a chance to visit several camps over the summer and was so encouraged by what I was seeing—the results today simply reinforce what we believe: when students have the opportunity to read high-quality, authentic texts and are deeply engaged in learning experiences around those texts, they will thrive.” 

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