Summer Reading

“Research shows that young children can lose up to two to three months of reading ability over a summer break. 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."

--Sharman Poplava, executive director of the TEACH Foundation.

Summer Reading Camp

The TEACH Foundation continues its partnership with the Darlington County School District to provide a summer reading camp for children in grades 4K through 3rd grade to improve reading proficiency. One hundred fifteen (115) students completed the four-week camp in 2017.

A literacy-based, thematic approach to curriculum is used for the camp. The Units of Study incorporate Science and Social Studies Standards from the grade above as a means of front-loading content for the first quarter of the upcoming school year. An abundance of fiction and nonfiction texts as well as leveled text for use during small group instruction was provided. Assessment systems, such as Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (F&P), were used to monitor student reading progress over the program. EdVenture provides STEM activities that promote literacy, collaboration and innovative thinking. Students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities and create projects that stimulate learning. The YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee provides after-camp care that will offer physical activity, team building exercises and character development activities.

Coker College provides professional development training for reading teachers, district staff, parents, YMCA staff and volunteers. Coker College works with the YMCA to select books and supplies that support literacy for the after-camp experience.   


The camp continues to have a positive impact. Results in 2017 indicate growth across all grades. 

Summer book mobile

The Annie E. Casey Foundation produced a study in 2011 that evaluated the link between 3rd grade reading skills, poverty and high school graduation. Using a national database, the study found that 1 in 6 children who are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate 4 times greater than that for proficient readers.  The rates are highest for the low, below-basic readers: 23% of these children drop out or fail to finish high school on time, compared to 9% of children with basic reading skills and 4% of proficient readers. Overall, 22% of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6% of those who have never been poor. This rises to 32% for students spending more than half of their childhood in poverty.

To provide summer reading access and help mitigate the effects of summer reading loss, TEACH and the Darlington County School District partnered to provide a summer bookmobile that offered literacy-based opportunities to the children of Hartsville.

With assistance from the City of Hartsville, 10 parking sites were identified that encompassed the areas of the PULSE schools; Southside Early Childhood Center, Washington Street Ele., Thornwell School for the Arts, and West Hartsville Ele. The sites were: Pride Park, Byerly Park, Lawton Park, Centennial Park, Police Dept annex on Fifth Street, Lee Street ball fields, 407 Mill Avenue in Oakdale, Washington Street, West Hartsville and Thornwell schools. The bookmobile traveled to 5 sites each Tuesday and Thursday for a total of 9 weeks beginning Aug 3.

Two certified reading teachers staff the bookmobile and the Darlington County School District provides the bus and driver. Staff dress in costume and provide a program around each visit entertaining as well as educating the children.    

Over 1700 books were distributed in 2017 and more than 600 children were impacted.  Neighborhood feedback was positive.

Based on the response to the first summer bookmobile, the TEACH Foundation will partner with the Darlington County School District for the second consecutive year to provide summer reading opportunities to children. The project is made possible through a grant from The Byerly Foundation. This year the project will include participation by the Hartsville Memorial Library.