TEACH Foundation donates funds for summer reading camp

Six-week initiative helps students experience reading gains

For the third consecutive year, the TEACH Foundation contributed financial support to the Darlington County School District’s (DCSD) summer reading program.

Matthew Ferguson, English/language arts and social studies coordinator for the Darlington County School District, said the donation is vital to the summer reading program’s success. “The TEACH Foundation has been an indispensable partner in expanding Darlington County School District’s Summer Reading Camp,” he said. “All students who participate in this summer opportunity experience gains in reading. Many even enter the next academic year reading on grade-level. Our partnership with the TEACH Foundation has made great strides in placing these students on the path of career and college readiness.”

The summer reading camp, this year following along with the Darlington County Library System’s theme of “Ready, Set, Read,” provides extensive instructional time for young students who were reading below grade level at the end of the school year.

Sharman Poplava, executive director for the TEACH Foundation, said the foundation is thankful young students have the opportunity to attend the summer reading camp. “Research shows that young children can lose up to two to three months of reading ability over a summer break," she said. “The TEACH Foundation commends the Darlington County School District for making this camp available to those students who make achievement gains during the school year and often experience loss in achievement over the summer."

The reading camp, which begins June 6 and continues for six weeks at Thornwell School for the Arts, received a $28,600 donation from the Foundation this year. 

Washington Street Elementary launches Roadrunners Race for Reading

Program off to a great start

Roadrunners Reading Program at Washington Street Elementary: January winners are 1st grader Jordan Hollimon (center), 2nd grader Saniyah Prescott (left) 3rd grader Aliyah Muhammad (right)

Roadrunners Reading Program at Washington Street Elementary: January winners are 1st grader Jordan Hollimon (center), 2nd grader Saniyah Prescott (left) 3rd grader Aliyah Muhammad (right)

Reading is one of the most integral components in an elementary school curriculum, and Washington Street Elementary knows just that. In early January, Washington Street Elementary school kicked-off a new reading program, Roadrunners Race For Reading, to encourage more students to read both at school and at their homes. “This is an exciting time for our students because they are more excited and encouraged to read,” says Stacy Bannister, curriculum teacher for Washington Street Elementary school. Washington Street Elementary school currently is one of four elementary schools in Hartsville that is participating in the Comer Student Development Program through the P.U.L.S.E program.

Washington Elementary school noticed that students needed to improve reading skills. And, as the teachers know, the more you read, the better you read. To get students more excited about reading, they introduced Roadrunners Race for Reading. “We've started with great energy, and with full student and teacher participation,” Bannister says.

Students are able to take books home to read as part of their homework or leisure time. “Our main goal is to provide each student with a mini-library of books at their homes,” Bannister adds.

The students are provided with a universal reading log where they record how many pages they have read each day. Every month, one student from each grade level is recognized based on how many pages he/she has read that month. Student names will be posted in the cafeteria for the whole school to see and to encourage a little friendly competition in the classrooms.

In January, the top three students in each grade level were recognized.  First grader Jordan Hollimon read 699 pages, second grader Saniyah Prescott read 808 pages, and third grader Aliyah Muhammad read 1,975 pages. In total all of the students at Washington Street Elementary School read an outstanding 44,059 pages in January.

“This program does more than just instill a love for reading. Each student learns responsibility and honesty when it comes to maintaining their logThey even learn a little math because they are responsible for adding up how many pages they have read,” Bannister explains.

(Story submitted by Gabriel Fonseca)