New literacy program offered in Independence County

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A new summer reading program will be available for kids from both the Cave City and Batesville school districts this summer.

The Ozark Foothills Literacy Project is hosting the free program titled SPLASH, which stands for Summer Partnership for Literacy Achievement at School and Home.

"They're going to come in once a week," Literacy Project Executive Director Morgan Reed said.

The eight-week program will be from the first week in June through the first week in August.

Batesville students will meet on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a location that is still to be determined.

Cave City students will meet on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m at the Bank of Cave City.

"So for the first 30 minutes we're going to do a lesson with them," Reed said. "We might split them into groups to make sure it's age-appropriate and level appropriate. We will do read-aloud books in that first 30 minutes and some sort of core reading lesson."

Then, the students will be paired up a high school mentor who will practice reading with them.

Reed said she is working to build a large library of books so students can choose topics they are interested in.

The program will be geared toward students in first through sixth grade who are reading below their grade level or who are learning English as a second language.

The summer is a crucial time for these kids to be reading, according to Reed.

"We try to make sure they do get the practice because their teacher is not standing over them at home and many of their parents they have to go to work so they're not standing over them, either saying read this so it's actually good thing if they come to this program and they get interested in their own," Reed said. "So that they actually like to read."

The kickoff dates for the program are May 31 at the Cave City Pool and June 1 at the Batesville Aquatics Center.

You can register a child during the kickoff event or beforehand by calling Reed at 870-793-5912 or emailing her at

High school students are also still needed to act as a mentor for the younger children. 

“We are putting out an internship for Batesville and Cave City,” Reed said. “I can only give out two so we’re encouraging people to go ahead and apply for that as soon as they can.” 

Those two internship positions will be paid $300 for their work. 

Anyone interested in volunteering should also contact Morgan.

More information about the Ozark Foothills Literacy Project can be found on their Facebook page.

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