For the first time, Memphis is getting a slice of a state grant to boost literacy rates through summer camps.

Nine Memphis schools in both Shelby County Schools and the Achievement School District will host reading camps funded by the second annual Read to Be Ready Grant Program. Overall, $8.5 million is being disbursed among more than 200 schools, compared to a dozen schools last year.  

The Tennessee departments of Education and Human Services have earmarked $30 million for the summer programs over the next three years. It’s part of the state’s larger Read to be Ready initiative, which aims to get 75 percent of third-graders proficient in reading by 2025.

“Summer reading loss can have a significant impact on the academic progress made by our students during the school year,” said first lady and literacy advocate Chrissy Haslam. “These Read to Be Ready summer programs are an innovative and strategic approach to combating that summer slide and improving reading proficiency across the state.”

The camps are in addition to 20 Shelby County district-funded sites to fight against a learning phenomenon known as “summer slide.”

While all students can fall behind academically during the summer break, students from low-income families are affected disproportionately, often losing two to three months in reading achievement, while their more affluent peers tend to make slight gains.

Memphis schools receiving state funding for their camps are:

  • Aspire Coleman, Achievement School District
  • Aspire Hanley 1, Achievement School District
  • Aspire Hanley 2, Achievement School District
  • Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary, Achievement School District
  • Libertas School of Memphis, Achievement School District
  • Willow Oaks Elementary, Shelby County Schools
  • Granville T. Woods Academy of Innovation, Shelby County Schools
  • Rozelle Elementary, Shelby County Schools
  • Memphis Business Academy, Shelby County Schools

See the full list of 2017 summer grant recipients and program directors on the department’s website.