Knox County summer programs aim to boost reading proficiency

This is one of many summer programs at 13 community schools in Knox County.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A summer program aims to boost reading proficiency for rising middle school students in Knox County.

“Reading is something that affects them not only in their language arts classes, but also affects history and math and science because you’re depending on reading to help further your education,” program leader Hana Sherman said.

Knox County Schools is teaming up with Great Schools Partnership for the 12th year in a row.

“We have to read our scripts in front of our classmates, and we have to read in front of other people, so that helps with confidence,” Northwest Middle School student Conatan Basurtl said.

One of the programs offered is summer theatre at Northwest Middle School, giving kids a chance to better their skills in a fun and relaxed environment.

“These kids are so bombarded with tests all the time, just inundated with all these state tests and I think having it in this context where there’s a little bit of fun to it, it’s not as intimidating,” teacher Crystal Braeuner said. “They feel like they’re in a safe place to try things, try to learn. It’s a more relaxed environment and it’s going to help build their confidence as they go into the school year.”

The month-long summer program is free and ends with a student performance of “Holes” at the Carousel Theatre on June 29.

Another benefit of the program is that it provides transportation to make it a little easier on working parents. The goal remains to instill a love for reading at an early age.

“It fills your head with knowledge and sometimes it’s really fun to pass the time,” incoming Northewest student Anna Dandy said.

Organizers said while the program is still in its early stages, they have already seen improvement in reading levels.

“We’ve seen a lot of amazing results in just a month so that’s very exciting,” Sherman said.

This is one of many summer programs at 13 community schools in Knox County.

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