By Mary Jones
Special to The Star
For the third year in a row, Millington Municipal School District was one of the 200 programs that were recipients of a Read to be Ready Summer Grant, a program to address Tennessee’s stalled scores in reading and to increase the percentage of Tennessee third-graders reading proficiently to 75% by 2025.
Rising first through third grade students from Millington Elementary School took part in this year’s summer reading camp, Communication is Key.
The students who attended spent their days reading, writing, listening, speaking, and having fun as they attended this 4-week program. Guided by eleven dedicated teachers, students spent their days exploring how communication and media have evolved over time.
Through books, writing, hands-on activities, and weekly field trips, campers were also exposed to the impact media has played in our society. Guests from the community visited weekly to read aloud, spend time, and share their experiences and expertise with the campers.
Connecting daily stories and activities to real life experiences helped students become excited about reading. Highlights of the camp included student created newspaper articles, podcasts, and news broadcasts. Campers visited Cypress Magazine, WUMR-University of Memphis’ radio station, WREG-TV Channel 3, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. On-air personality Marty Brooks and the Wolf from 94.1 The Wolf visited the camp as well as representatives from US 51 Country 93.5. Many local community leaders also dropped by including Mayor Lee Harris, Mayor Terry Jones, Shelby County Director of Education Dr. Cedrick Gray, and numerous local business owners. Ingram Micro and Dairy Queen also generously donated snacks and supplies for the many projects for the students.
Campers’ families participated in weekly projects related to the themes such as a poetry slam, weather related science experiments, and reading to each other. Families were invited to attend the camp’s final celebration in which students exhibited their news broadcasts, had a story time led by Millington Public Library’s children’s librarian Dezarre, and enjoyed a slideshow of the camp activities. During the camp, students received free books daily. Over the course of the camp, each student received over 35 books to stock personal home libraries as well as creating a writing box full of supplies to encourage them to continue reading and writing.
The goal of the camp was to increase students’ enjoyment of reading as they make connections to the world around them and broaden their experiences knowing that communication is the key to successful futures.