Summer literacy program a success, officials say

Summer literacy program a success, officials say
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A group of Region 8 kids spent their summer diving into books.

Around 50 young bookworms participated in the City Youth Ministries Summer Literacy Program in Jonesboro.

Literacy Teacher for City Youth Ministries, Tracy Shoemaker, said practice makes perfect!

"When school's out they stop reading," Shoemaker said. "They don't do a lot of practicing. We always tell them you want to be good at something you've got to practice. So, we practice reading. We started this literacy program. Each grade level has a literacy card with different book titles on it they can read."

Shoemaker said, unfortunately, kids don't read a lot during the summer months, which can have an effect on them academically.

"Lots of students and kids don't read in the summer," Shoemaker said. "There are so many things to do that reading kind of goes by the wayside. They kind of forget about it because they're out of school. So, we kept up with it. Not only did our kids not fall behind, but they gained ground over the summer. So, we are really excited about the program."

This is the first year City Youth Ministries has had a summer program.

Shoemaker said students had a lot of fun and learned at the same time.

"We have lots of books that have been donated to City Youth," Shoemaker said. "We're very fortunate. So, they had lots to choose from. The kids got very competitive. It was a great, fun time. The learned reading was fun," Shoemaker said. "I had some come in at the beginning and say, 'I don't read.' And then when we found the books they could read, they did. They read all summer."

Students in the program said they thought it was great.

10-year-old Zakhariah Jones said he loved it.

"It's fun because," Jones said. "When we go back to school we'll be able to learn more words that we can comprehend."

7-year-old Kaden McDonald said he's going to have a jump on his school work this fall.

"We learn how to read," McDonald said. "And learning hard words in books."

8-year-old Teriquah Parks said City Youth Ministries means a lot to both her and her family.

"I think City Youth is a lot of help to my family," Parks said. "Because they let me get supplies and clothes and I've never had a program like this."

Shoemaker said the kids were doing some great reading and writing by the end of the program.

Children in grades 1st through 6th grade attended the program.

Each child received a t-shirt, book bag and got to select a book for participating and completing the summer literacy program.

Shoemaker said they do intend to bring the program back next summer and will also have a literacy program in place this fall.

For more information about City Youth Ministries, you can call (870) 932-9398 or log onto their website.

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