Alicia Bryant can’t wait to get to fourth grade to show off.
Bryant was one of 26 third-graders who participated in a three-week Reading Camp that ended last week at Roger Bell Elementary School in Havelock.
“I think the reading camp is awesome because you get to learn more and when you go to fourth grade you’re going to be ready for the (end of grade tests) and you’re going to be ready for the practice sessions, and when I go to school in fourth grade I’m going to show my teacher what I did in reading camp so she can know I did well,” Bryant said.
Bryant, 9, will be a rising fourth-grader at Havelock Elementary School in part due to the work she completed at the camp.
“I just started reading good,” Bryant said. “I passed. I’m all the way to a B.”
Bryant is a success story. She is one of the youngsters who will advance to the next grade in school.
Charity Clemmons, an assistant principal at Havelock Elementary School, served as principal for the Roger Bell Reading Camp. Clemmons said the purpose of the camp was to meet the mandate by the Read to Achieve law that states that every child in third grade shall be reading on grade level.
Five Havelock area teachers participated in the camp. Two other reading camps were conducted at schools in New Bern and Vanceboro.
“This was absolute teamwork,” teacher Myra Cook said. “Teachers coming together from different schools for one goal.”
While the goal was to meet the Read to Achieve law, there was more to it than that, Clemmons said.
“We want to show them that reading is fun and you don’t have to be scared to read and you can learn a lot through reading,” she said.
It took a little bit of encouragement on the first day, she said.
“The very first day the kids came in like a funeral procession,” Clemmons said. “They called it summer school. They thought it was going to be boring and much like regular school, and by that afternoon, they were like ‘We want to come to this every day. We didn’t think it would be this fun.’ So we’ve achieved our goal.”
Assuring that elementary students are reading well guarantees them a chance at success later in school, Clemmons said.
“We’re really trying to develop 21st century learners,” she said. “They are going to leave us one day and graduate and take a job and they are going to have to know some of the fundamentals in reading. They are going to have to know how to comprehend text. Fundamentals in reading are very important to excelling in life.”
During the program, student Akosha Stevens read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Magic Treehouse” but her favorite was “A Good Night for Ghosts.”
“Reading is fun because you get to learn about stuff, about animals and funny clowns,” Stevens said.
For student Tyree Wilson, the book “Stinky Socks” was his favorite.
“‘Stinky Socks’ is a funny book,” Wilson said. “It gives you a lesson that you should wash your socks every day because a girl didn’t wash them for a month and then she finally got them washed by rabbits because they kept scrubbing and scrubbing, then they finally just put them in the washer. Some people went to the river and saw that there were stinking socks in there and it smelled bad.”
Wilson noticed that reading helped his writing.
“When you learn words and letters and you know how to put them together, then you can write better,” Wilson said. “The teachers are awesome and they teach you stuff and they are fun.”
Bryant was proud of the 59 stickers she earned during the camp. Some of them were for reading out loud in front of the class.
“I got to read in front of all the kids,” she said.
Stage fright was not a problem.
“I’ve been on stages plenty of times for the talent show and for the play,” Bryant said.
Reading opened Wilson’s mind to a new world.
“Reading made me happier when I went to reading camp, and it was fun,” he said. “You get to actually learn about things and learn about the world.”