A summer of elementary reading coming to Kingsport

Rick Wagner • May 29, 2019 at 1:15 PM

KINGSPORT — Reading to and by elementary school students in Kingsport City Schools will be the norm this summer, thanks to the new KCS Superintendent Reading Time and the recurring Read to be Ready program.

During Tuesday’s Board of Education work session, the board got an update on summer activities for students.


The program, funded by a nearly $90,000 grant from the state, serves selected children from Jackson, Kennedy, Lincoln and Roosevelt elementary schools.

For 2019-20, in its third year in the system, the program will be based at Lincoln and include free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, field trips and, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Rhonda Stringham said, more than the 18 free books per student given out last year. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3-28 during weekdays, and she said volunteers are still needed to read to students.

The free meals come from the Summer Feeding Program and the snacks, books and field trips through the grant.


In addition, the board got a brief report on the reading time Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse plans to do four Tuesdays in June and four Tuesdays in July on the school system’s Facebook page, starting June 4. The readings, to begin at 8 p.m., will be broadcast from each city elementary school and archived for later viewing. He will have no live audience at the individual school libraries.

Moorhouse said he hoped the program would encourage families to listen as a group to the books and discuss them. After the meeting, the school system released the titles of the eight books he chose with help from KCS Literacy Coordinator Emily Helphinstine. 

The books, in order and library location, are: “What Do You Do With a Problem?,” June 4 at Washington Elementary; “Follow the Moon Home,” June 11 at Roosevelt; “Fire Flies!,” June 18 at Kennedy; “ My Awesome Summer,” June 25 at Jackson; “The Prince Who Was Just Himself,” at July 2 at Lincoln; “The Last Stop on Market Streeet,” July 9 at Jefferson: “Elizabeth Lead the Way,” July 16 at Johnson; and “Those Shoes,” July 23 at Adams.

Moorhouse said he’s already working on ideas for other reading programs if this one proves a success.


Stringham said KCS summer programs also include the Summer Feeding or 2019 Seamless Summer Food Service Program administered by the Tennessee Department of School Nutrition Services under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At Sevier Middle School, it provides free breakfast and lunch to those 18 and younger. The meals will be served Monday through Friday from May 28 to July 19. There are no income requirements to participate in the program. 

Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Children wishing to participate should enter Sevier Middle at the front of the building, and signage will be by the entry. No meals will be served on weekends or July 4.

The system will have 18 other Summer Meals for Kids locations requiring an RSVP to participate. For more information, call Tracy Begley at (423) 378-2434.  

Other events include sports camps, academic camps and orientations for incoming middle school students called Jumpstart, as well as programs on robotics, drones and other hands-on activities, career technical education summer classes and high school credit recover and advancement programs taught at D-B EXCEL instead of Dobyns-Bennett because of construction occurring at the latter.

In addition, the school system has band camps at D-B, as well as Robinson and Sevier middle schools. For more information, go to the school system’s summer activities page at www.k12k.com/.